Slumbering bats awaken for Expos

Sledge, Chavez, Vidro homer for Montreal

Posted: Wednesday, May 05, 2004

MONTREAL - The Montreal Expos are finally starting to hit.

Terrmel Sledge hit his first career homer, Endy Chavez had a three-run shot and Montreal broke out of a season-long slump with a 10-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

Jose Vidro also connected for the Expos, who won consecutive games for just the second time this year. Montreal lost nine of 10 before a 6-4 win at Los Angeles on Sunday, when it matched its previous season high for runs.

"Hopefully, tonight is the start of something good here because we've been struggling for a lot of ballgames," manager Frank Robinson said. "We have to understand what we did tonight, and what we did Sunday in Los Angeles to win these ballgames and continue to do the things that we're capable of doing."

Montreal rookie relief pitcher Chad Bentz of Juneau faced one batter in the seventh inning, allowing a two-out single to Rockies first baseman Todd Helton.

Earlier in the day the Expos put reliever Rigo Beltran on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique muscle, meaning Bentz is back to being the only lefty in Montreal's bullpen. Robinson told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he is not comfortable with Bentz taking on a bigger workload than situational relief.

"I don't think he is physically ready to carry the load right now. He's a youngster," Robinson said of Bentz before Tuesday's game.

The Expos (7-20) hit three homers Tuesday for the second straight game. They had a major league-low 55 runs coming in.

"It took us a long time to see offense like what we put out there tonight," Vidro said. "It feels very good but there's still a long way to go. It's two games in a row now and we've got to keep building, keep building."

Sledge had his first career three-hit game as Montreal got a season-high 14 hits.

"They're not going to hit like that all year, but that doesn't mean we have to be the team that gives up 10 runs and 14 hits," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

Only 4,001 were on hand for the Expos' fourth game at Olympic Stadium this year. It was the smallest Montreal crowd since Sept. 5, 2002, when 2,134 - the smallest crowd in stadium history - attended a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia.

"Once we start playing well, I know the people are going to come," said Expos shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who had two RBIs.

Cardinals 6, Phillies 5

PHILADELPHIA - Mike Matheny saved St. Louis with a super play behind the plate, and the Cardinals held off the Philadelphia Phillies.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, Jason Isringhausen struck out Pat Burrell swinging at a high fastball. The ball deflected off Matheny's glove all the way to the backstop, but the two-time Gold Glove chased it down. With no play at the plate, he fired a long throw to first, getting Burrell by a half-step.

Mets 6, Giants 2

NEW YORK - Steve Trachsel (3-3) held down a lineup missing Barry Bonds, sidelined by a sinus infection, allowing two runs - one earned - and five hits in eight innings.

Mike Cameron lined a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning and had three hits, as did slumping Kaz Matsui.

All five runs off Brett Tomko (1-2) were unearned. Edgar Alfonzo made his first two errors of the season and let another ball escape him at second.

Braves 4, Padres 2

ATLANTA - Russ Ortiz (3-3) allowed one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings, and Damon Hollins had a career-high three RBIs as the Braves returned following a two-week road trip, their longest this season.

Chris Reitsma and John Smoltz each pitched an inning, with Smoltz working the ninth for his fourth save.

Adam Eaton (1-2) gave up four runs - two earned - and six hits in seven innings.

Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 3

CHICAGO - Steve Sparks (2-1) got his first victory as a starter since Aug. 16, 2002, holding Chicago scoreless until Sammy Sosa's three-run homer in the eighth. New closer Jose Valverde struck out the side in the ninth for his save.

Matt Kata singled, doubled and tripled for Arizona, then grounded out in the sixth and struck out in the eighth.

Sergio Mitre (1-2) gave up four runs and seven hits in four innings.

Brewers 6, Reds 2

CINCINNATI - Lyle Overbay fouled off four two-strike pitches before hitting his first career grand slam in a six-run third against Jimmy Haynes (0-3).

Victor Santos (1-0) allowed one hit in five innings to get his first victory since July 18, 2001.

Astros 4, Pirates 3

HOUSTON - Andy Pettitte (2-1) struck out eight over five innings to get his first victory in Houston for his hometown Astros. He allowed two hits in five innings, including a first-inning homer by Jack Wilson.

In his first home start, Pettitte allowed six runs an 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to San Francisco on April 6 and injured his left elbow on a checked swing.

Dodgers 4, Marlins 3

MIAMI - Adrian Beltre hit a tying single with two outs in the ninth, then singled off Justin Wayne (2-1) in the 11th and scored when pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz's grounder went through Mike Mordecai's legs at third base for an error

Armando Benitez blew a save for the first time this season, and Florida made four errors in losing its fourth straight.



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