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MontrealExposMON
49-49, 19-32 Away
0
Final
4
FloridaMarlinsFLA
48-50, 29-21 Home

Beckett strikes out 12 batters in six innings

MIAMI (AP) -- Montreal saw enough Florida pitching for one
weekend.

Josh Beckett had a career-high 12 strikeouts in six innings as
the Marlins completed a three-game sweep of the slumping Expos with
a 4-0 victory Sunday.

Beckett allowed three hits in his second game back from the
disabled list following blisters on his right middle finger as the
Marlins blanked the Expos for the second straight game.

Beckett (3-4) won for the first time since May 19 and gave the
Marlins their third solid pitching performance this weekend
following strong outings from Michael Tejera and Brad Penny.

"We made all of their pitchers look good in this three-game
series,'' Montreal manager Frank Robinson said.

Kevin Millar hit a solo home run for the Marlins, whose weekend
sweep came on the heels of an eight-game losing streak that started
before the All-Star break.

"It shows the type of character we have in this clubhouse,''
Florida manager Jeff Torborg said. "It would have been easy to
fold, but we didn't.''

Florida pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts, establishing a
franchise record for a nine-inning game. Vladimir Nunez worked two
innings -- striking out the side in the ninth -- to notch his 20th
save.

"It all starts with the pitching. It sets the tone for the
game,'' Torborg said. "Josh was special today. He was really
bringing it.''

Beckett had two stints on the DL this year because of blisters.
The injuries limited him to just one start since May 29 until he
rejoined the rotation last week. In his first game back, Beckett
was tagged for seven runs in five innings and took the loss against
the Mets.

He bounced back nicely against the Expos, not allowing a runner
to reach third and giving up three singles -- one apiece by Jose
Macias, Brian Schneider and Brad Wilkerson.

"Every inning was huge. It seems like I had to make a big pitch
every inning,'' Beckett said. "The high fastball was working.

"Somedays they get hit and somedays they don't. Today they
didn't. ''

The Expos have lost eight of 11 since the break and have been
shut out the last two games.

By striking out 17 times, Montreal tied a franchise record for
most in a nine-inning game. It also happened on May 3 at Arizona
and on Aug. 28, 1998 against San Diego.

The Expos managed just two runs in the series, with 16 hits in
three games.

"You can't explain something like that,'' Robinson said. "I
don't have a reason for it.''

Florida reliever Graeme Lloyd, who is trying to void the trade
that brought him from Montreal, worked a scoreless inning for the
Marlins. Lloyd is awaiting an arbitrator's ruling, hopeful that his
no-trade clause will allow him to return to the Expos.

Florida took a 1-0 lead in the third on Eric Owens' RBI
grounder.

The Expos threatened in the fourth when Macias and Schneider
reached on consecutive one-out singles. However, Henry Mateo forced
Macias at third with a grounder, and Tony Armas struck out to end
the inning.

Millar's homer off Armas (8-10) in the fifth gave Florida a 2-0
lead.

Armas allowed two runs and four hits in six innings.

The Marlins added two runs in the eighth on Derrek Lee's
sacrifice fly and Juan Encarnacion's run-scoring single.

Game notes
Marlins OF Preston Wilson was scratched from the lineup
before the game with a sore right wrist. ... Expos OF Cliff Floyd,
traded from Florida on July 11, went 0-for-4 to finish 1-for-13 in
the series. ... Schneider saved a run in the second, scrambling to
pick up a ball that bounced in the dirt to throw out Mike Lowell at
the plate. ... Lowell is 0-for-7 this year with the bases loaded
after striking out to end the third inning. ... Lowell had two
doubles to lead the NL with 34. ... Millar is 3-for-13 lifetime
against Armas, with all three hits being home runs.