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Updated: Saturday, July 31, 2004 12:42 AM EDT
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MONTREAL 9, FLORIDA 0
 

MIAMI (Ticker) -- Livan Hernandez spoiled Josh Beckett 's latest return from the disabled list.

Hernandez pitched a three-hitter for his second shutout of the season and the Montreal Expos roughed up Beckett en route to a 9-0 rout of the Florida Marlins .

"He did a great job," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "He mixed his pitches, he kept the ball in the strike zone, he kept them off-balance."

The 1997 National League Championship Series and World Series Most Valuable Player while with the Marlins, Hernandez used a gem to improve to 8-3 lifetime against his former team.

Six days ago, Hernandez gave up four runs and six hits over 8 1/3 innings in a victory over Florida. It was his eighth career complete game at Pro Player Stadium.

"I moved the ball outside and inside, you don't want to make a mistake against that lineup," Hernandez said. "This one is special because a lot of people in Miami can see me play. This is my home where I have a lot of friends and family. I always like pitching here."

Hernandez (8-10) gave up just three singles, walking one and striking out four. The Cuban righthander's other shutout this season came against Toronto on July 2.

It also was Hernandez's major league-leading sixth complete game of the season.

"We all know he should have a lot more wins than he does," Robinson said. "He doesn't let it bother him. He's been outstanding. There have only been a few games when he didn't have his best stuff."

Hernandez even helped his own cause at the plate with three hits, including a two-run double in the eighth.

The Marlins, who saw pitcher Brad Penny and first baseman Hee Seop Choi leave the stadium during the game when they were traded to Los Angeles, did not use the deal as an excuse.

"The biggest distraction was the guy pitching against us," Marlins manager Jack Mckeon said. "(Livan) was the only distraction we had. He's one of the top pitchers in the league. He knows how to get people out."

Coming off the disabled list for the fourth time this season, Beckett (4-6) surrendered four runs and six hits in three innings. The 2003 World Series MVP had been sidelined with a blister on his right middle finger.

"He was throwing the ball all right," McKeon said. ''He just had bad location and bad pitch selection. ... He passed the test."

"It was rough," Beckett said. "My finger's better. It was another stepping stone to better days ahead. I get through three innings healthy so I get to make my next start in six days."

Hernandez took advantage of four double plays and faced only two batters over the minimum.


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