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Lowell drives in two runs after tumor scare

MIAMI (AP) -- Mike Lowell was back to dealing with issues he can
handle, like driving in runs.

A day after returning from a weekend of medical examinations as
part of a tumor scare, Lowell went 2-for-3 with two RBI, leading
the Florida Marlins to a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Expos on
Monday night.

Lowell, who had surgery in 1999 for testicular cancer, felt
soreness in his groin the last three weeks and doctors told him
Friday that a golf ball-sized mass above his left femur might be a
tumor.

But the following day, specialists in Gainesville, Fla.,
determined it was not a tumor or cancerous, and instead was fibrous
dysplasia, a benign condition of the bone.

Lowell said getting into the batters box "felt like I was back
in the normal world, not in the worries that I was in the last few
days."

In his first at-bat, Lowell singled home Juan Pierre. He also
drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.

"He was a big lift to our ballclub, as soon as he walked in our
clubhouse you could see it in the atmosphere and the attitude. It
was completely upbeat," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "They
were happy to see him, and as soon as he got that first hit, the
guys in the dugout were hollering 'Mike's back, Mike's back."

Josh Beckett (4-4) scattered seven singles over seven innings,
striking out seven and walking one.

"They hit every groundball at somebody, what else can I say,"
Beckett said.

A pair of hitting streaks ended for Expos players. Jose Vidro
was 0-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt to snap his 13-game
string and Orlando Cabrera was 0-for-4 to end his 15-game streak.

Ugueth Urbina pitched a scoreless eighth for Florida. The Expos
scored in the ninth on Brad Wilkerson's triple and Wil Cordero's
groundout.

"The way we're going, three runs down is like 10 runs," Expos
manager Frank Robinson said. "We're getting shut down too many
innings."

Montreal starter Eric Knott (0-1) got off to a rocky start in
the first inning when he gave up Lowell's RBI single and then
walked Juan Encarnacion to load the bases with one out.

Knott was visited by pitching coach Randy St. Claire and Tim
Drew started to warm up in the bullpen. But Knott got Derrek Lee to
line into double play to end the inning and did not permit another
run until giving up three straight singles to start the sixth.

"I was a little excited in the first inning," Knott said.
"Then Randy came out and slowed me down a little bit."

Pierre singled to open the sixth and Luis Castillo followed with
a bunt single. The Expos appeared to be caught off-guard when Ivan
Rodriguez took it upon himself to bunt for a single as Knott
couldn't pick up the ball near the third-base line.

"That was huge play, it caught them by surprise," Lowell said.
"It was a very team-oriented play and smart play, and he got a hit
out of it, so he got a nice bonus out of it.

Knott admitted that the bunt was unexpected.

"I don't remember giving up too many (bunt) hits to three-hole
hitters," he said.

With the bases loaded Lowell walked. Drew relieved and
Encarnacion hit a sacrifice fly.

"It looked like for a while that we weren't going to get much
hitting, and finally we got break or two, two nice little bunts,
and Mike with the RBI walk," McKeon said.

Todd Hollandsworth pinch-hit for Beckett in the seventh inning
and tripled. Pierre's bloop single to center field made it 4-0.

Game notes
Beckett's last previous appearance was a one-inning
appearance against the Expos before the All-Star break. ... OF
Vladimir Guerrero had two singles in his first game back from the
disabled list. ... Knott failed in his attempt to become the first
Montreal left-handed starter to win a game since June 21, 2001.