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Pavano, Castro carry Marlins to win05/24/2004 4:11 PM ET
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Patience is starting to pay off for Marlins catcher Ramon Castro.
Mired in a terrible rut all season, Castro had a breakout performance with two doubles and three RBIs and the Marlins went on to roll past the Diamondbacks, 13-5, Monday afternoon at Pro Player Stadium.
Castro entered the game in a 5-for-53 drought before having his second multi-hit game of the season.
"It's been a long time," said Castro, who is batting .157 with eight RBIs on the season. "I'm being more patient now, taking more pitches to hit the ball when it's in the strike zone. I was swinging at a lot of balls in the dirt. Now, I'm going to try to swing at more strikes. ... I was getting myself out."
The 12-hit attack featured a home run by Jeff Conine, a three-run triple by Juan Pierre and two hits from Alex Gonzalez. The win was No. 100 for Jack McKeon as manager of the Marlins.
Carl Pavano (4-2) had enough run support to breeze to his first win in three starts.
In command, Pavano gave up three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk in seven innings.
Along with taking three of four in the series against the Diamondbacks, the Marlins pulled even with the Phillies for first place in the National League East.
"I was happy to see Gonzo and Ray [Castro] break loose," McKeon said. "I hope this gives them confidence. It's good to see those guys pick it up. Those guys were getting beaten up pretty good, and it was nice to see those guys break through. We've got to repeat it. But it's a start."
Arizona starter Brandon Webb (2-4) endured his toughest outing of the season, giving up seven earned runs in 5 1/3 innings while walking five and striking out five.
The Marlins struck for four runs in the second inning after Webb walked Conine and Hee Seop Choi to open the inning. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position and Gonzalez doubled. Both runners scored but Gonzalez was credited with one RBI because Choi's run came after center fielder Steve Finley misplayed the ball. Castro followed with an RBI double and Pierre's run-scoring single made it 4-0. All the runs were earned.
Gonzalez, who is brilliant defensively, robbed Webb of a single by snaring a sharp grounder headed for center field and he also made a nice assist on a hard grounder by Brent Mayne. With his two hits, Gonzalez raised his average to .212.
"We know he's a better hitter than what he's shown," McKeon said. "Sometimes he was pressing."
Even when he hasn't hit, Gonzalez remains a regular because his glove is too valuable to sit.
"It was a good day," Gonzalez said. "I've got to keep doing what I did today. I have to start relaxing at home plate. Right now, I'm starting to help my team with some offense. If you are not swinging your bat, you have to play well in the field. If I'm not swinging the bat, I have to help the team with my glove. That's what I've been doing."
Pavano carried a shutout into the fifth before Scott Hairston, on a full-count pitch, stroked a solo home run. It was the first big-league hit for the Arizona second baseman and it came in his seventh at-bat.
"When you get a lead like that, you have to throw strikes," Pavano said. "They made some good plays behind me on hard balls hit at some guys. Those were key outs."
The Marlins are 7-2 in Pavano's nine starts.
"My job is to go out there and give my team a chance to win," Pavano said.
Adding on in the sixth, the Marlins padded their lead with three runs. Conine, who homered off Randy Johnson on Sunday, delivered a solo shot against Webb.
After Choi drew one of his four walks, Gonzalez singled to right. Castro's two-run double made it 7-1.
The Diamondbacks chipped back with two runs in the seventh on Finley's two-run shot to right, giving him a league-leading 14. Shea Hillenbrand led off with a triple, setting up Finley's drive on a full count. Danny Bautista belted a two-run homer for Arizona in the ninth.
The Marlins broke it open with six runs in the eighth. Pierre had a three-run triple, giving him four RBIs on the day, which tied his career high. The speedy center fielder last drove in four runs Sept. 17, 2003, at Philadelphia.
With the 12 hits, all fans in attendance can turn in their ticket stub for a free dozen doughnuts at one of five South Florida Krispy Kreme Doughnut stores. Fans have 24 hours to claim their doughnuts.
Pinch-hitter Larry Sutton provided the 12th hit with an RBI single in a four-hit eighth.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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