MIAMI (AP) -- Once again, the Florida Marlins were at their best
with a new manager in the dugout.
Florida improved to 6-1 (.857) when playing its first game under
a new manager. In all other games they're 717-868 (.452).
"I'm like a kid with a new toy,'' the 72-year-old McKeon said.
"I felt good about today. I felt I had a tremendous rapport with
Jeff Torborg was fired late Saturday following a loss to the
Rockies and replaced by McKeon, who has managed four other teams.
"We'll go undefeated with him from now on,'' joked Mike Lowell,
who hit his 10th home run. "We're 1-0. If he steps down right now,
we'll go down in history.''
McKeon barely had time to introduce himself to his players
before the Marlins took the field, and he struggled to remember
their names afterward. But for one day, at least, the change in
managers had the desired effect.
"The players get a mulligan and say, 'Here we go,''' Rockies
manager Clint Hurdle said. "But Pavano made more of a difference
today than Jack McKeon, no disrespect to Jack. He got seven innings
out of a starter.''
Pavano gave up 12 hits but walked none, stranded nine and
allowed only two runs. Along with the gutsy pitching, McKeon got
good defense and timely hits -- elements too often missing under
Castillo pulled a pitch from Brian Fuentes over the left-field
scoreboard in the sixth for his second home run of the season,
tying a career high. Lowell had three hits, including a two-run
homer. Pierre singled, walked three times, stole three bases and
tied a Marlins record by scoring four times.
With two victories in three games, Florida won a series against
the Rockies for the first time since May 18-20, 2001.
Maybe a pregame pep talk from McKeon helped.
"The message was to have fun,'' he said. "I told them, 'I
think you're trying too hard. Relax and have fun, and we'll win.'''
He was right, despite another big day by Colorado's Preston
Wilson, playing against his former team for the first time. He went
3-for-4 with an RBI and finished the series 6-for-11 with two
homers and six RBI.
Aaron Cook (1-3) allowed five hits, four walks and three runs in
five innings for the Rockies, who closed out their longest road
trip of the season 2-7.
"It doesn't matter where you are,'' Wilson said. "Going home
doesn't mean it's going to get any easier. You have to execute,
throw strikes and get hits with runners in scoring position. If you
don't do those things, it doesn't matter where you play.''
The Marlins scored twice in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead. Pierre
singled and stole second, Castillo reached on a bunt single and
Lowell singled home a run. Todd Hollandsworth hit a sacrifice fly,
with left fielder Jay Payton making a leaping catch, to put Florida
With two outs in the sixth, Pierre walked and Castillo homered
to make it 5-2.
Florida also scored in the first. Pierre walked, went to third
on Castillo's single and came home when Lowell hit into a double
A pivotal moment came when the Rockies loaded the bases with
none out in the fourth on singles by Jose Hernandez, Bobby Estalella and Ronnie Belliard, who reached when the Marlins left
first base uncovered on his sacrifice bunt.
Cook drove in a run with a groundout, but Pavano retired the
next two hitters to escape further damage.
"I'd love to draw it up like this every night,'' McKeon said.
"I truly believe these guys are good enough to compete.''
RHP Jason Young was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs
to start Monday for Colorado against the New York Mets. He'll
probably return to the minors after the start. "I told him not to
buy a house,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. RHP Dan Miceli was
designated for assignment. ... The temperature for the 1:35 p.m.
start was 89 degrees. ... The Rockies still lead the all-time
series between 1993 expansion teams 51-50. ... McKeon was assigned
uniform No. 15. ... Mark Sweeney struck out pinch-hitting but is
still a .385 lifetime hitter (25-for-65) against the Marlins.