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Ohka wins fourth straight decision

MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Expos are getting big outings from
an unexpected source.

Tomo Ohka won his fourth straight decision as the Expos
tied a season-high six-game winning streak with a 6-3 victory over
the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.

"It's been a real pleasant surprise to see him go out there and
pitch,'' Expos catcher Michael Barrett said. "He's gotten better
and better with every start, and we need that. He's picked us up
huge there.''

Ohka, Montreal's fourth starter behind staff ace Javier Vazquez,
Tony Armas Jr., and Carl Pavano going into the season, took over
the team lead from Armas with his seventh win.

"I don't care about the other guys,'' Ohka said through an
interpreter. "All I have to do is concentrate on my pitching -- on
what I have to do.''

Pavano, who made his third career bullpen appearance Tuesday
after being taken out of the rotation, was optioned to Triple-A
Ottawa following the game.

He was 3-8 with a 6.30 ERA in 15 appearances, including 14
starts.

"We're just trying to get Carl straightened out and get him
back in a groove to where he can get major league hitters out,''
Expos manager Frank Robinson said.

Brad Wilkerson, Jose Vidro and Vladimir Guerrero hit three
straight doubles off Mac Suzuki (0-2) leading off the first. The
Royals lost their sixth straight, tying a season high.

Guerrero advanced to third on a balk by Suzuki, and scored
Montreal's third run on Fernando Tatis' RBI grounder.

Scott Stewart pitched the ninth inning for his seventh save and
second in two nights.

Ohka (7-3) retired nine straight after right fielder Guerrero
threw out Suzuki at the plate on Carlos Beltran's single to right
to end the fourth.

The right-hander allowed nine hits and three runs -- two earned --
in seven-plus innings, leaving after allowing Mike Sweeney's
leadoff single in the eighth.

Kansas City has lost 13 of 17 games.

"We are trying to find a way to win a ballgame,'' Royals
manager Tony Pena said. "We play hard every single day. You don't
see any of those guys giving up. If my players give up, then I have
a problem with that, but we didn't give up. Everybody keeps
fighting every day and as a manager, that's all I can ask.''

The Royals scored two in the third on Beltran's run-scoring
double and Raul Ibanez's RBI grounder to make it 3-2.

Troy O'Leary drove in Montreal's fourth run with an RBI single
in the bottom half.

After Sweeney's single chased Ohka, Raul Ibanez singled off
left-hander Graeme Lloyd.

Wilkerson then made two errors on the same play, first
misplaying the ball for an error, and then hitting Sweeney in the
back with the throw, allowing Ibanez to take second.

Robinson summoned right-hander T.J. Tucker, who allowed Brandon
Berger's RBI grounder, drawing the Royals to within 4-3.

Luis Alicea failed to drive in the tying run when he grounded to
second baseman Vidro with the infield in and left-hander Joey
Eischen -- the Expos' fourth pitcher of the inning -- came on and
struck out Brent Mayne to end the threat.

Tatis and Orlando Cabrera hit RBI doubles in the bottom half to
put Montreal up by three.

Suzuki, 0-1 with a 9.49 ERA in five relief appearances this
season, allowed five hits and four runs in five innings.

Game notes
New Royals pitching coach John Cumberland joined the team
before the game. Cumberland, who was Triple-A Omaha's pitching
coach, took over from Al Nipper, who was fired before Tuesday's 6-5
loss. Cumberland was replaced by Nipper as Boston's pitching coach
in 1995. ... Ohka has gone at least seven innings in each of his
last eight starts, and nine of 10. ... Guerrero has nine outfield
assists this season.