Originally created 03/31/04

Expos tie Marlins in 10 innings



JUPITER, Fla. -- Florida's Mike Lowell was hit by a pitch twice Tuesday, clearing benches, leading to manager Jack McKeon's ejection and sparking memories of last year when the All-Star third baseman missed four weeks with a broken hand.

Montreal right-hander Josh Karp, making his first start this spring, hit Lowell in the thigh in the first inning and then in the hand in the third. The second one caused much commotion in a game that ended in a 3-3 tie after 10 innings.

Karp's fastball was headed for Lowell's helmet, but he lifted his left hand to protect himself. It was the same hand Lowell broke last August when he was hit by a fastball from Montreal reliever Hector Almonte.

Lowell walked toward the mound and said plenty to Karp. Both benches cleared without altercation, and first base umpire Matt Hollowell eventually tossed McKeon after a heated argument. Lowell was not injured.

"It was just a bad coincidence," Lowell said. "I don't think he was trying to hit me, but it was hard and it's right at my head. It was a little scary, and I didn't want a repeat of last year. Sorry I got a little emotional."

McKeon watched the rest of the game from a second-floor balcony of the clubhouse that overlooks left field. He propped his feet up, unbuttoned his shirt and smoked three cigars.

"I should have got some lotion before I went up there," McKeon said, his face red from a slight burn.

McKeon was equally red while screaming at Hollowell after Lowell's second knockdown, which came two batters after Karp threw two pitches at Juan Pierre's feet.

"I just told him, 'You've got to take charge of this game,"' McKeon said. "I said a few more things than that. The umpire says bad blood. We don't have any bad blood.

"To me, you kick them out of the game right now and set a precedent. Don't tell me there's bad blood. There hasn't been any bad blood since I've been here. Where's it coming from? It's ridiculous. Something's got to be done," he said.

Marlins president David Samson went a step further. After the game, he said his staff prepared tapes to send to Major League Baseball highlighting several altercations between the Expos and Marlins. He estimated that Montreal pitchers have hit 10 Florida players since last spring after Brad Penny was suspended five games to start the season for hitting Vladimir Guerrero with a pitch.

"We're tired of having our guys get hit by the same team time after time," Samson said. "You're talking about very highly paid professionals. Part of the game is pitching inside, but it just seems to us that that team has been hitting our players for the better part of a year and a half."

Notes: Florida's Mike Mordecai hit a one-out homer in the bottom of the 10th to tie it. ... The Marlins signed RHP Tanyon Sturtze, who pitched a perfect inning of relief. ... Florida OF Brian Banks will have surgery on his right knee Friday to remove bone fragments and will be out at least two weeks. ... Karp allowed three hits and two runs in four innings.