Marlins get help to avoid cellar in attendance race


MIAMI (AP) -- Luis Castillo came from behind to earn his second
National League stolen-base title Sunday, and the Florida Marlins mounted a
mystifying rally to avoid finishing last in the major leagues in

Castillo stole three bases to win the title by one with 48 and
scored the winning run on a pop foulout in the 10th inning, helping
Florida beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3.

There were perhaps 8,000 fans on in the stands, but the
announced crowd of 28,599 -- second-largest of the season at Pro
Player Stadium -- allowed the Marlins to overtake Montreal in season

Marlins president David Samson said a longtime fan of the team
who lives in South Florida bought more than 15,000 tickets that
went unused. Samson said the fan wasn't affiliated with the
organization but declined to identify him.

''It's a person who didn't want to see us last in attendance
when we shouldn't have been,'' Samson said.

Team officials contend the Expos include complimentary tickets
in their attendance totals, while the Marlins do not.

Florida's final home attendance total was 813,118, an average of
10,038 a game and the lowest in team history. Montreal, which
finished its final game three hours earlier than the Marlins, drew

''I'm not sure anyone will be rolling their eyes in Montreal,''
Samson said. ''They've known from the beginning how they've been
doing their attendance.''

There was no fudging the Marlins' record. They finished 79-83,
the ninth losing season in their 10-year history. The only time
they were above .500 was in 1997, when they won the World Series.

The Phillies (80-81) blew a chance to post back-to-back winning
seasons for the first time since 1982-83. Instead they finished
below .500 for the 14th time in 16 years.

''Going .500 is like the barrier of what people say is a
successful season,'' catcher Mike Lieberthal said. ''But it's just
like when you bat .299 instead of .300 -- it really doesn't make
that much difference. It's one game.''

Castillo went 3-for-4, twice robbed the Phillies of hits at
second base and edged Juan Pierre of Colorado in stolen bases.

''I was aware of the race and I was trying to steal all the
bases I could,'' Castillo said. ''I'm happy to end the season on a
high note.''

He singled to start the 10th, swiped second for his
title-clinching steal, took third on a wild pitch by Hector Mercado
(2-2) and came home on Juan Encarnacion's foulout. First baseman
Travis Lee caught the ball with his back to the infield, slammed
into the retaining wall and was late with the throw home.

Lee declined to comment.

''I don't think Travis thought he was that far down the line,''
manager Larry Bowa said. ''The ball kept on carrying. He made a
great play, but in hindsight you have to know where you are.''

Braden Looper (2-5) pitched a perfect 10th. Florida overcame
deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 and finished 5-12 in extra innings.

The Phillies were beaten because of an all-too-familiar failure
with runners on base. They stranded 10, increasing their total for
the season to 1,260, most in the major leagues.

Florida's Tim Raines, playing his final game in a career that
began in 1979, went 1-for-3 with a single to finish with 2,605
hits. The seven-time All-Star announced his retirement Saturday and
was honored in a pregame ceremony.

Bobby Abreu doubled in the third inning, increasing his
NL-leading total to 50. He became only the third Philadelphia
player to double 50 times, and the first since Chuck Klein in 1932.

Teammate Doug Glanville went 3-for-4, giving him 1,001 career

Florida's Josh Beckett, who struggled through a disappointing
rookie season plagued by blisters on his index finger, pitched a
1-2-3 seventh.

The Marlins' Kevin Millar went 0-for-4, ending his streak of
reaching base in 43 consecutive games.

Game notes
Philadelphia's Pat Burrell sat out the game with a strained
left shoulder. He finished with 37 home runs and 116 RBI, both
team highs. ... Florida's Mike Lowell, who was hit on the left arm
by a pitch Saturday, pinch hit in the ninth inning and flied out.
He finished with 92 RBI and a career-best 24 homers. ... Florida
won the season series 10-9.