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First meeting since NLCS Game 7 a rout

CHICAGO (AP) -- Eleven months after winning two straight at
Wrigley Field to take the NL pennant, the Florida Marlins returned
Friday and split a doubleheader with Chicago.

Moises Alou and Aramis Ramirez hit back-to-back homers, and the
struggling Cubs routed the Florida Marlins 11-2 Friday to gain the
split. Carl Pavano allowed seven hits as Florida won the opener

After getting blanked for the second straight game in a a
miserable opening performance that had the Wrigley Field booing --
the Cubs made three errors and let another catchable ball fall in
the outfield -- Chicago responded with a season-high 18 hits in the
second game.

The Cubs started the day a half game behind Houston and San
Francisco in the wild-card race and the defending World Series
champion Marlins were two back.

Last October, the Marlins rallied with eight eighth-inning runs
in a stunning Game 6 victory in which the Cubs become unglued with
Mark Prior on the mound. Florida went on to win the World Series.

Friday's doubleheader served as makeup of one game of a
three-game set that was wiped out by Hurricane Frances last weekend
in Miami. After playing Saturday and Sunday at Wrigley Field, the
teams also must play a doubleheader Sept. 20 in Miami.

After they leave Chicago's north side following this weekend
series, the Marlins aren't going too far -- about eight miles across
town, where they will play Montreal on Monday and Tuesday at U.S.
Cellular Field, a switch made because of Hurricane Ivan.

"We have a crazy next 10 days, so if we get on a good start, I
think that's a key for this team," Pavano said.

Prior (5-4) benefited from the second-game offense that included
four hits from Neifi Perez, just called up from the minors last
week, and three by backup catcher Paul Bako. Prior gave up two runs
and nine hits in a season-high eight innings, struck out eight and
walked none.

The Cubs quickly got to 22-year-old rookie Logan Kensing (0-1),
three days after he was called up from Class A. He lasted just
two-plus innings in his major league debut, giving up five runs and
eight hits.

Bako had a second-inning sacrifice fly for Chicago's first run
in 19 innings. Alou hit a three-run homer and Ramirez added a solo
shot in a four-run third. Corey Patterson and Alou had RBI doubles
in the sixth, and Bako and Calvin Murray added RBI singles in the

In Friday's opener, Florida got to Kerry Wood (7-7) for six runs
-- four earned -- and 11 hits in six innings.

Pavano (17-5), who started Game 6 of the NLCS, won his fifth
straight start and pitched his second shutout of the season. His
17th win matched the franchise record held by Kevin Brown and Alex

Pavano struck out Sammy Sosa with runners on second and third to
end it, finishing with six strikeouts and no walks.

"We need to make sure we get our rest and eat well and
obviously play well," Pavano said of the road ahead. "It's not a
big deal for us."

Pavano singled to start the second and then Cubs' third baseman
Ramon Martinez made back-to-back throwing errors on sacrifice
bunts, loading the bases before Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run

The Cubs' shoddy fielding continued in the sixth and the boos
began to come down as Florida scored four.

After doubles by Juan Encarnacion and Alex Gonzalez and a walk,
Paul Lo Duca's high fly fell between Sammy Sosa and Corey Patterson
for a two-run single, making it 5-0 before Cabrera delivered
another run-scoring single. Pavano hit a two-out RBI double off Jon
Leicester in the seventh.

The Marlins lost a home game when last weekend's series with the
Cubs was washed out and now they're losing at least two more
against the Expos, which were supposed to open a four-game series
in Miami on Monday. A decision will be made Monday when and where
the final two games of that series will be played. They also have
to make up an Aug. 1 rainout with Montreal.

It's just the latest inconvenience for the defending World
Series champions. But no griping.

"Everybody wants to stay it's a burden. Sure, it's tough,"
Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.

"But we don't look at it that way, we look at it as an
opportunity to cash in. If we do, great. If we don't, we gave it
our best shot."

Game notes
Former Cubs star Andre Dawson, now a special assistant with
the Marlins, led the singing at the seventh-inning stretch in the
opener. And when he tried to throw his Cubs cap into the crowd, it
got stuck on a beam below the overhang of the stadium room.