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NL: Marlins do fine in their home away from home

Associated Press
Published September 14, 2004

CHICAGO - The Florida Marlins did their best to create a homey atmosphere: Their mascot danced on the field, their P.A. announcer did the lineups, they even wore white pants.

Chased out of Florida by Hurricane Ivan, the Marlins staged an eighth-inning rally Monday to beat the Montreal Expos 6-3 in a strange setting at U.S. Cellular Field.

"Yeah, you got to feel like we're at home, even when we're in a different city. We still want to get back home to our houses and hopefully Ivan won't cause any more havoc," catcher Paul Lo Duca said after the Marlins scored six in the eighth.

"It was a little weird early but once you get on the field, everything is fine, you just go back to playing baseball. You miss your crowd and you miss going home right now. Now we go back to the hotel an hour away. That's a little difficult."

Florida, two games behind wild-card leading San Francisco, play the Expos at U.S. Cellular again today.

The last NL game in an AL ballpark was in 1946, when the Boston Braves played several games at Fenway Park because a paint job on the seats at Braves Field had not dried, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

A spirited crowd announced at 4,003 transformed the White Sox's home park into a foul-ball chaser's paradise. With the upper deck closed, most of the fans who spent $15 for a ticket ($5 going to hurricane relief) sat behind the dugouts and close to the field. There was a loud pro-Expos contingent, some dressed in Cubs attire.

"We were surprised to see the large number of Marlins fans, whooping and hollering," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.

"And I see we brought a few Cubs fans here. They might have felt threatened by us (in the standings). They wanted to see us go down the tubes real fast."

The Expos, who know something about moving around after playing a portion of their home schedule in Puerto Rico the past two seasons, got two runs in the first off Josh Beckett on Tony Batista's grounder and Terrmel Sledge's triple.

CUBS 7, PIRATES 2: Sammy Sosa homered for the first time in more than two weeks and Derrek Lee drove in three to lead host Chicago.

Moises Alou and Neifi Perez also homered for the Cubs, who pulled within a half-game of San Francisco in the wild-card race.

The Cubs took advantage of rookie Frank Brooks in his first major-league start, tagging him for five runs, four earned, in one inning. Pittsburgh didn't help Brooks defensively, with shortstop Jack Wilson making an error for a second straight game.

REDS 4, PHILLIES 3: Jason LaRue drove in the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice grounder in the eighth inning and host Cincinnati snapped Philadelphia's six-game winning streak.

Wily Mo Pena led off the eighth against reliever Felix Rodriguez with a double into the right-centerfield gap and moved to third on pinch-hitter Darren Bragg's sacrifice. LaRue hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Placido Polanco, who made a diving backhanded stop but couldn't get up and throw in time to get Pena at the plate.

METS 9-1, BRAVES 7-7: J.D. Drew had four hits and three RBIs and Paul Byrd pitched eight strong innings to lead visiting Atlanta to a split. Mike Piazza and Richard Hidalgo homered and pinch-hitter Craig Brazell came through with a go-ahead double in the opener, helping New York rally.

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