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Nunez gets first two career hits in victory

9/21/2002

ATLANTA (AP) -- Abraham Nunez wasn't expecting to make his first
career start.

He got his first two major league hits and fellow rookie Justin Wayne won for just the second time in his major league career,
helping the Florida Marlins beat the sloppy Atlanta Braves 6-2
Friday night.

"As soon as I got here, I looked at the lineup and I felt good,
because it was my first game,'' said Nunez, who plans to give the
ball from his first hit to his father in the Dominican Republic.
"He's crazy for baseball. He always wanted to see me play in the
big leagues.''

Florida's Kevin Millar went 0-for-3 with two walks, ending his
25-game hitting streak.

"Tonight was just one of those nights I just didn't get that
pitch,'' he said. "I had a blast with it.''

In the clubhouse, Millar went straight to the video machine,
watching his at-bats from Thursday night's game against the
Montreal Expos.

"It's just one of those things, you've got to go out and keep
battling,'' Millar said. "Streaks are lucky, and tonight I got
five plate appearances, which was great, but I just couldn't find a
hole.''

The Marlins didn't start four regulars, including Preston
Wilson, who missed his second straight game with an inflamed toe.
Luis Castillo, Andy Fox and Juan Encarnacion also took the night
off, and their four replacements entered with only 19 starts among
them this season.

Pablo Ozuna led off and started at second, journeyman Mike
Mordecai played shortstop, Brian Banks was in right field and Nunez
took Wilson's place in center.

"They did a heck of a job, didn't they,'' manager Jeff Torborg
said. "They just didn't do a job with the bats, how about the
defensive play? Wow.''

Nunez and Banks both made diving catches, and Ozuna and Mordecai
handled several chances easily.

The Braves played as if they were the inexperienced team,
committing two errors. Damian Moss (11-6) lost for the first time
in five starts, allowing five runs, five hits and four walks -- one
intentional -- in 2 2/3 innings.

When he left the game, Moss was joined on the bench by left
fielder Chipper Jones. Then afterward, while reporters waited at
his locker, Moss spent some time with veteran pitchers Tom Glavine
and John Smoltz.

"I just got a tutorial,'' Moss said. "Chipper told me, 'If I'm
facing you, I'm sitting on changeup.' I didn't establish my
fastball.''

Wayne (2-2) gave up two runs and four hits in five innings,
leaving after 80 pitches. In 26 minor league starts this season, he
was 8-6 with a 4.52 ERA, and he lost against Atlanta last Sunday
when was tagged for four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Although Torborg said he planned to careful with the 23-year-old
right-hander, Wayne wasn't on a pitch count.

"The idea is when a pitcher is no longer spotting his fastball
and not throwing a lot of good pitchers, that's when you usually
when you take him out,'' Wayne said. "I was focusing on the wrong
thing. It's more than just throwing strikes at this level. You've
got to stay outside when you want to go away and you've got to stay
down.''

Blaine Neal, Michael Tejera and Armando Almanza finished the
six-hitter.

In 11 games with the Marlins, Nunez had been 0-for-6. He made
the most of his first start, hitting an RBI single in a five-third
third and singling in the sixth. He scored when Mordecai reached on
an error by second baseman Mark DeRosa, giving Florida a 6-2 lead.

"It made me feel good, because they're a good team,'' Nunez
said. "That pitcher, he's not a bad pitcher. He made some good
pitches, so I feel good.''

Atlanta scored in the third on DeRosa's solo homer and Gary
Sheffield's RBI single. Wayne escaped a two-on, one-out jam when
Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones flied out.

Game notes
Javy Lopez was charged with the other error, throwing wide
to second on Mordecai's steal in the third. ... Wayne was denied
the first hit of his career in the second inning, when 3B Vinny
Castilla backhanded a line drive. ... Throughout the game, there
were several spirited cheers for the Marlins from the upper deck.
... Nunez came to Florida from the Arizona Diamondbacks as the
player to be named in a Dec. 13, 1996, trade that included RHP
Vladimir Nunez.