<
>

Banks homers in eighth inning in Florida win

PHOENIX (AP) -- Brian Banks came in for his defense. He made the
difference at the plate.

Banks homered leading off the eighth inning to lift the Florida
Marlins past the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 Thursday night for a
split of their four-game series.

Banks, who entered in a double-switch in the seventh as a
defensive replacement in left field, drove the second pitch from
Oscar Villareal (1-2) to center for his first home run of the
season.

"As the leadoff guy, I was just trying to get on base,'' said
Banks, who lives in nearby Mesa and had 30 friends and family in
the stands. "I wasn't trying to hit it out, just trying to get on
base."

The Marlins won just hours after losing a starting pitcher to
injury for the second time in a week. Mark Redman was sidelined by
a broken thumb and is expected to be sidelined two-to-four weeks.

Also Thursday, No. 1 starter A.J. Burnett hinted that Florida
management might have withheld information from him about his
injured elbow. General manager Larry Beinfest called that
"outrageous'' and "ridiculous."

Burnett had reconstructive Tommy John surgery Tuesday to repair
a torn elbow ligament, and is expected to be sidelined 12-to-18
months.

"We've got to step up and throw some innings" said Marlins
starter Josh Beckett, who allowed three runs on eight hits over 6
2-3 innings. "That's what we need to do, not having somebody try
and do more than they can do."

Armando Almanza (3-0) pitched 1 1-3 perfect innings for the win,
and Braden Looper worked a hitless ninth for his fifth save in six
chances.

"That was a big game for us," Florida manager Jeff Torborg
said. "It's important because we're in such a tough division.
They're not losing in front of us very much."

Arizona's Rod Barajas tied it at 3 leading off the seventh,
driving a 1-1 fastball from Beckett into the left-field stands for
his first homer.

Barajas' home run was his seventh consecutive hit dating to
Monday, matching the club record held by Tony Batista. Barajas
flied out in the ninth to end the streak.

"I'm just seeing the ball real well right now,'' Barajas said.
"I seem to be getting a couple of mistake pitches every at-bat and
I seem to be taking advantage of every single one."

Including a fourth-inning intentional walk, Barajas reached base
safely in eight consecutive plate appearances, one short of Greg
Colbrunn's franchise record.

"He's seeing everything as big as a beach ball and hitting
everything on the sweet spot," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.

Beckett retired his next two batters after Barajas' homer, but
allowed back-to-back singles to Junior Spivey and Luis Gonzalez and
was pulled for Almanza, who retired David Dellucci on a grounder to
end the inning.

Beckett struck out seven and walked three, one intentionally,
and also added an RBI double.

Arizona's Andrew Good, making his second career start and first
since April 22 in Montreal, allowed three runs on six hits over
seven innings. Good walked two and struck out one.

The Marlins opened a 2-0 lead in the third inning on three
straight one-out doubles.

Todd Hollandsworth's blooper down the left-field line fell
between a trio of converging Diamondbacks to start the rally, and
Beckett and Juan Pierre followed with consecutive run-scoring line
drives to the wall in left-center.

"He just fell behind," Beckett said. "That's what he would
have done to me if I'd fallen behind. That's why I make sure I get
ahead of the other pitcher."

Arizona pulled even in the bottom half. After Beckett retired
the first six batters he faced -- three by strikeout -- Steve Finley
led off with a single and scored on Barajas' double to the bullpen
wall in the left-field corner. Two outs later, Gonzalez pulled a
double into the right-field corner to score Barajas and tie it at
2.

Florida regained a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth when Juan
Encarnacion tripled into the right-center gap and scored on Derrek
Lee's sacrifice fly.

Game notes
Opponents have scored eight of the 20 runs off Beckett in
the third inning. ... Seven of the 11 hits Good has allowed this
season have gone for extra bases _ three doubles, a triple and two
home runs. ... Florida 2B Luis Castillo extended his hitting streak
to 13 games with a first-inning infield single off Good's glove.
... Beckett threw the first pitch of the intentional walk to
Barajas over catcher Ivan Rodriguez's glove for a wild pitch. ...
The first pitch was delayed six minutes due to President Bush's
address, which was broadcast on the center-field scoreboard.