Florida extends scoreless streak against Montreal

Marlins have not allowed a run in 30 innings; Juneau's Bentz throws 1-2-3 frame for Expos

Posted: Friday, April 16, 2004

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Carl Pavano was determined to keep the shutout streak going for the Florida Marlins.

Pavano and a pair of relievers combined to blank the Montreal Expos 3-0 Thursday, extending the Marlins' scoreless string to a team-record 30 innings.

"I wasn't going to be the one to go out there and mess up our rhythm," Pavano said.

The World Series champions shut out the Expos in all three games of the series. Montreal was held to three hits as its scoreless string reached a club-record 33 innings.

The last time a team swept a three-game series with shutouts was 1995, when Baltimore did it against Detroit.

While he was on the losing team, Montreal Expos rookie relief pitcher Chad Bentz of Juneau kept his own personal shutout streak going.

Bentz threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning and has yet to give up a run in his brief major league career. Bentz got pinch-hitter Damian Easley and centerfielder Juan Pierre on ground outs, then got second baseman Luis Castillo to fly out to right to end the inning.

Pavano (1-0) recalled riding on the team bus after Wednesday's 9-0 win and getting razzed by Brad Penny, who threw eight scoreless innings in the opening game of the series in Puerto Rico.

"Penny told me yesterday, 'No pressure, 23 scoreless innings,"' kidded Pavano.

Pavano added that the way the Marlins' pitchers have been hitting - Dontrelle Willis was 3-for-3 with a homer on Wednesday - there's more pressure for them to get hits.

Pavano, who was 1-for-2 at the plate, conceded that the shutout streak will not last forever.

"So as long as it does last, let's enjoy it," he said.

Pavano gave up three hits in seven innings, and Chad Fox and Armando Benitez finished up. The previous shutout record for the Marlins was 27 innings, compiled in four games between July 29 and Aug. 1, 1997.

Darren Oliver, who gets the next start Friday in Atlanta, said he does not want to be the guy to allow a run.

"I hope I can keep it going. We're just hot right now," Oliver said.

Manager Jack McKeon said his pitching staff is making a good case to be considered among the best in baseball.

"This staff is underrated," McKeon said. "As far as maturing and reaching a new level, these guys are fast becoming one of the better staffs in baseball."

Montreal, the worst offensive team in the majors, has been blanked four times overall this season by the Marlins. Florida shut out the Expos in the final game of their recent series at Pro Player Stadium.

Florida is 5-1 at San Juan's Hiram Bithorn Stadium since last year. The Expos finished 1-5 in their first "home" series this season in Puerto Rico.

"The effort we gave today will not win ballgames," manager Frank Robinson said.

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