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Castro sinks Dodgers with HR in 13th inning

8/13/2003

MIAMI (AP) -- An improbable hero for a surprising team, Ramon
Castro put the Florida Marlins ahead in the NL wild-card race
Tuesday night.

The backup catcher hit a two-out home run in the 13th inning to
cap a seesaw marathon, and Florida beat the Los Angeles Dodgers
5-4.

The Marlins came from behind three times to win and moved
one-half game ahead of Philadelphia. The Phillies lost to Milwaukee
6-3.

"It feels great," manager Jack McKeon said. "When you have
nights like this, you feel very good."

Los Angeles fell 3{ games behind the Marlins and lost to them
for the first time in five meetings this season.

"It's a disappointing game to have to lose, but it was a hell
of a game," manager Jim Tracy said. "It was a game with two clubs
who obviously know what's at stake."

Castro, the Marlins' third catcher of the game, hit his third
homer in only his 41st at-bat this season.

"I'm happy I had a chance to win the game," he said. "This
team is for each other 100 percent. Everybody was clapping for me,
and I'm happy for that too."

His homer came on a 2-0 split-finger fastball from Paul Shuey
(4-4).

"This stings as bad as any one I've ever had," Shuey said. "I
hung it, and he hit it."

Florida overcame three plays at the plate that went the Dodgers'
way, including a call that led to catcher Ivan Rodriguez's third
ejection in two weeks.

Chad Fox (1-0), recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Albuquerque,
earned the victory. He retired Alex Cora and Cesar Izturis with a
runner on third in the 13th.

The Florida bullpen retired 16 Dodgers in a row and allowed no
hits over the final six innings.

"Our relievers stopped them completely," McKeon said. "They
were lights out."

Jeromy Burnitz hit his 23rd homer for Los Angeles.

"Any time you play a long game, it's a tougher game to lose,"
Burnitz said.

Rodriguez was ejected when he protested a call at the plate in
the fifth that gave the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. Paul Lo Duca was ruled
safe trying to score from first on Shawn Green's two-out double.

Rodriguez's replacement, Mike Redmond, was out trying to score
from first on a double in the bottom of the inning. Los Angeles'
Robin Ventura scored from third when he beat a throw home on a
groundout in the fourth.

The Dodgers' Eric Gagne pitched two hitless innings. He had
retired 25 consecutive batters over eight appearances before he
walked Juan Encarnacion on four pitches leading off the 11th.
Following a strikeout, Encarnacion advanced to second on a
groundout, but he was stranded when Alex Gonzalez struck out.

Florida starter Josh Beckett allowed nine hits and four runs in
six innings. Los Angeles scored in three innings after he retired
the first two batters.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but
Beckett retired pinch-hitter Mike Kinkade and Dave Roberts. They
had runners at first and second with one out in the seventh, but
Ugueth Urbina struck out Adrian Beltre and Burnitz.

The Dodgers' Hideo Nomo allowed eight hits and four runs in five
innings and remained 0-6 lifetime in Miami.

Lo Duca scored from first base on Green's fifth-inning double,
leading to Rodriguez's ejection. Gonzalez's relay throw home beat
the runner. Rodriguez blocked the plate as he caught the throw and
made the tag, but umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ruled Lo Duca safe.

"I saw him juggle the ball," Lo Duca said. "I think that's
what Hunter saw."

TV replays appeared to show the runner was out. Rodriguez threw
his mask, screamed a profanity and was ejected.

After his last ejection, Rodriguez pledged to keep his mouth
shut the rest of the season. He said he has been thrown out only
one other time in his 13-year career.

Game notes
The Dontrelle factor: Attendance was 12,025. The teams drew
20,288 despite threatening weather when Dontrelle Willis pitched
Monday. ... Dodgers RHP Guillermo Mota pitched a perfect sixth and
seventh, striking out four. He has retired 19 batters in a row and
has pitched 13 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings. ... Marlins 1B
Derrek Lee, who missed four consecutive games with a sore right
shoulder, was a defensive replacement in the ninth inning.