Expos expunged

, Last Updated: 6:17 AM ET

MONTREAL (CP) -- There was minor trouble, but not the riot some feared. And they managed to get in a full nine innings of baseball.

That's where the positives ended in the home finale for the Montreal Expos, a 9-1 thrashing from the Florida Marlins in which the players looked edgy every moment they were on the field.

Several Expos expressed concern that angry fans might get crazy, as some did when the Washington Senators played their final game Sept. 30, 1971. Several hundred youths in the crowd of 14,460 stormed the field with two out in the top of ninth, stealing home plate, circling the bases and tearing out grass. They forced a forfeit with the Senators leading 7-5.

Many feared the same would happen at Olympic Stadium and trouble simmered beneath the surface all night in the rowdy crowd of 31,395.

It began with booing for the American national anthem and although it was quickly drowned out by roaring applause, the doughy security guards knew then they'd have to be on their toes. By the seventh inning, they had help from riot police circling the concourses.

But things ended peacefully, although a fan ran out on the field with two outs in the ninth.

Termell Sledge made the final out, popping out to third.

Expos first baseman Brad Wilkerson said it would be tough to focus on baseball after the club's relocation to Washington was announced three hours before gametime.

It showed after the first inning.

The Marlins pounced on Sun-woo Kim (4-5) in the second, after shortstop Macier Izturis' error allowed the game's first run to score. Former Expo Carl Pavano followed with an RBI groundout, Juan Pierre added a two-run double that made it 4-0 and the rout was on.

Moments after Miguel Cabrera homered in the third to make it 5-0, a golf ball was thrown toward third base and Expos manager Frank Robinson pulled his team from the field. Minutes later fliers reading "Bud Sucks" -- a reference to commissioner Bud Selig -- were dropped from the upper deck, prompting a warning over the p.a. system that the game would be cancelled if anything else was thrown.

Players were back on the field 10 minutes later.

Expos third baseman Tony Batista lightened things up in the fifth, after Robinson removed him from the game. He was shown on the video scoreboard and walked to the top step of the dugout and thrust his arms in the air with a wide grin on his face.

Batista repeated it several times before high-fiving laughing teammates, as the crowd roared its approval.

The Expos touched Pavano for a run in the fourth on Juan Rivera's RBI single but the Marlins responded with four more in the fifth to put things away.

Pavano (18-8) set a Marlins record for wins with seven innings of one-run ball.

Pavano is on the fringes of the NL Cy Young Award race, becoming the type of pitcher in Florida the Expos envisioned when he was acquired in the 1997 Pedro Martinez trade.

Wednesday's crowd pushed the Expos' season total to 748,587, their third-lowest total ever. Only 642,748 showed up in 2001.

The Expos drew crowds of 20,000 only twice before this season and also lost both: 30,112 watched Philadelphia win 8-6 in the Montreal home opener April 23; and 20,042 took in a 10-1 loss to the Mets on July 29.

The Expos also lost their first game in Olympic Stadium, 7-2 to the Philadelphia Philles on April 15, 1977 before 57, 592. They won their first ever game in Montreal, 8-7 over the St. Louis Cardinals on April 14, 1969.before 29,184 at Jarry Park.

Notes: The Expos lost their final six straight home series. ... Tony Batista saved the ball after doubling to right in the fourth. ... Monday's series opener drew a crowd of 3,923 to Olympic Stadium, while 5,416 turned out on Tuesday. ... Bob DuPuy, baseball's No. 2 man, watched the game from a private box.


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