Encarnacion fails to bunt, then clears fence

MIAMI (AP) -- Juan Encarnacion couldn't bunt and wound up hitting
a go-ahead home run.

After failing twice on sacrifice attempts with Florida trailing
by a run in the eighth inning Saturday night, Encarnacion hit a
two-run homer that sent the Marlins to a 4-3 victory over the
Colorado Rockies.

"It's part of the game, it is not prohibited," Encarnacion
said jokingly of his bunt attempts.

Jeff Conine singled off Steve Reed (3-4) leading off the eighth
and Encarnacion, who had hit a two-run single in the first of Jason
Jennings, followed with his 14th homer.

"I made a mistake with one pitch, he jumped all over it," Reed
said. "That was the game right there."

Encarnacion was in a 1-for-11 slide coming in.

"He was the guy we were hoping to give us the late-season thing
Conine gave us last season," Florida manager Jack McKeon said,
looking back to Florida's surge a year ago.

The defending World Series champions, who have won four of their
last six games, closed within five games of the Chicago Cubs, the
NL wild-card leader. Colorado has lost six straight.

Carl Pavano (15-5) allowed three runs and seven hits in eight
innings, and Armando Benitez finished with a perfect ninth for his
38th save in 41 chances. Jennings gave up two runs and six hits in
six innings.

"The guys battled behind me and got me the four runs," Pavano
said. "I just wanted to stay in there long enough to keep us in
the ballgame. "We just have to keep battling, keep playing well."

Pavano survived Choo Freeman's one-out triple in the seventh,
striking out pinch hitter Mark Sweeney and retiring Aaron Miles on
a grounder.

"He's under control all the time, that's why he is pitching so
well," McKeon said. "He doesn't get frustrated when the count
goes to 3-2."

Colorado also wasted Todd Helton's leadoff double in the sixth.

"This is just right there in your face, runner on second
runner, on third and you don't convert," Rockies manager Clint
Hurdle said. "It comes back to haunt you."

Clint Barmes, brought up from Triple-A Colorado Springs before
the game, had put the Rockies ahead in the third inning with his
first career homer. It was the Rockies' first home run in 37 2-3
innings. Colorado had not homered in 154 at-bats.

Barmes had played one game for the Rockies earlier this season,
going 1-for-3 on Aug. 14 at Pittsburgh. He took a 6:30 a.m. flight
from Albuquerque and arrived at the ballpark 2½ hours before the

"It was one greatest feelings of my life," Barmes said. "It
was a pretty exciting game for me overall."

Game notes
Miles robbed Encarnacion of a hit and RBI in the third,
when he fielded a grounder behind second base and threw out
Encarnacion on a close at play at first. McKeon argued with first
base umpire Fieldin Culbreth. ... The Rockies are 0-5 on a 12-game
trip. ... Mike Lowell went 0-for-4, ending a 12-game hitting