Series: Game 3 of 3

Florida won 3-0

Game 1: Tuesday, May 7
San Diego 4Final
Florida 12
Game 2: Wednesday, May 8
San Diego 4Final
Florida 7
Game 3: Thursday, May 9
San Diego 0Final
Florida 1

Padres 0

(17-17, 6-13 away)

Marlins 1

(19-15, 11-7 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 9, 2002

    Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    SD 000000000 0 - -
    FLA 01000000 - 1 - -

    W: H. Izquierdo (1-0)

    L: B. Tollberg (1-4)

    S: V. Nunez (7)

    Cuban defector Izquierdo wins first career start

    MIAMI (AP) -- The Florida Marlins' latest victory resonated in Cuba and in the NL East standings.

    Vladimir Nunez


    Vladimir Nunez, left, is congratulated by Charles Johnson after converting his seventh save in eight chances.

    Three Cuban defectors helped pitch a five-hitter and Florida took sole possession of first place Thursday night by beating the San Diego Padres 1-0.

    Rookie Hansel Izquierdo pitched five innings in his first major-league start for his first win. He was followed to the mound by fellow Cuban Michael Tejera, Braden Looper and Cuban Vladimir Nunez, who pitched the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.

    "There are going to be a lot of people in Cuba happy about it, but a lot people who can't talk about it," Nunez said. "They'll talk inside their house in the middle of the night so nobody can hear."

    Izquierdo's mother, brother and two uncles were in the crowd of 5,461. He said his father and other relatives likely listened to the game on the radio in Havana, 150 miles from Miami.

    "It's a very special moment," Izquierdo said. "I can't express the way I feel."

    Florida extended its season-high winning streak to four games and moved a game ahead of the New York Mets, who lost to San Francisco. The Marlins have sole possession of first place for only the 11th time in 1,425 games over their 10-year history, and this is the latest they've ever been in the lead.

    "It's nice to wake up and read it in the paper or hear it on the radio," manager Jeff Torborg said. "But we've got so far to go."

    With three consecutive wins, the Marlins swept a series from San Diego for the first time since June 1994.

    "Those guys are leading the league for some reason," San Diego's Tom Lampkin said. "They have good pitching, and they made good pitches when they had to."

    The Marlins earned their first sweep this season and climbed four games above .500 for the first time.

    They gave up two walks and misplayed two popups in the fourth inning, and San Diego still didn't score. The Padres loaded the bases with none out in the next inning, and again failed to score.

    Izquierdo (1-0) allowed six baserunners but no runs in five innings. The 25-year-old right-hander lowered his ERA to 0.61 in 14 2-3 innings.

    "Can you imagine the emotion for that kid?" Torborg said. "He did a heck of a job."

    Izquierdo was followed to the mound by Tejera, his former teammate at Southwest Miami High School. They defected at Miami International Airport in 1994 while on a trip with the Cuban National Team.

    Tejera pitched one-third of an inning. Looper allowed one hit in 2 2-3 innings, and Nunez pitched the ninth, striking out Ramon Vazquez with a runner at second to end the game.

    "It's a dream come true to have three Cuban pitchers on the same team," Nunez said.

    "Castro's probably a little mad right now," teammate Mike Lowell said.

    Brian Tollberg (1-4) lost despite his best start of the season. He allowed seven hits and one run in six innings.

    Florida scored the only run in the second inning when Derrek Lee singled and scored from first on Eric Owens' double.

    After the first two Padres walked in the fourth, third baseman Lowell lost an easy foul popup in the twilight, and the ball dropped. Ryan Klesko popped up to left field on the next pitch and Owens lost the ball, but he grabbed it on one bounce and threw to third for a forceout.

    Following a groundout, Florida saved a run with dazzling defense. Lowell backhanded Bubba Trammel's grounder, whirled and threw off-balance from foul territory to Lee, who did the splits stretching to scoop the throw at first that barely beat Trammel to end the inning. The play earned a standing ovation.

    With the bases loaded in the fifth, Tollberg grounded into a 1-2-3 double play, and D'Angelo Jimenez grounded out to end the threat.

    San Diego is 4-for-28 with the bases loaded this season.

    "We've been horrible, absolutely horrible," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Tollberg just hit it to the one spot you don't want to hit it -- back to the pitcher."

    Game notes

    Lowell went 0-for-3, ending his 11-game hitting streak. ... Tollberg, who grew up in Bradenton, is 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three games against the Marlins. ... San Diego fell to 7-2 in one-run games. ... Nunez has pitched 12 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings over his past 10 outings.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press