PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Brandon Duckworth knew he was running out of
time to get another victory.
Duckworth pitched seven strong innings and Bobby Abreu hit a
two-run homer to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-1 victory
over the Montreal Expos on Thursday night. With the specter of a strike looming over baseball, Duckworth
had no trouble focusing on the Expos. Duckworth (6-8) allowed one run, two hits and struck out eight
to win for the first time since July 1. He was 0-3 in his eight
previous starts. "I didn't think about it,'' Duckworth said of Friday's strike
deadline. "I just focused in the game itself.'' The Phillies have won seven of eight and moved back to .500 for
the second time since April. Terry Adams pitched a perfect eighth, and Jose Mesa worked the
ninth for his 38th save in 47 chances. "There was a lot of conversation about the strike tonight,''
Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "It was a distraction just like
it is in every clubhouse.'' The Expos headed home following a 4-5 road trip with perhaps the
most uncertain future of all teams. If the rest of the season is
wiped out, this could've been the last game for the franchise
should baseball decide to contract. "It was no different than any other game because we don't know
what's going to happen,'' Expos manager Frank Robinson said. After the Phillies went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position
in just the first two innings, Abreu delivered with a two-out,
two-run homer off Bartolo Colon in the third. Doug Glanville hit a one-out double before Abreu hit a 3-2 pitch
off the center-field backdrop for his 17th homer and a 2-1 lead. "He's a tough pitcher,'' Abreu said. "It was a fastball up and
I hit it good.'' Colon (7-3) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. "Too many of my pitches were up in the zone, especially the one
to Abreu and he made me pay for it,'' Colon said. Fans, upset with the possibility of a strike, held several signs
during the game, including one that read: "You strike, we hike.'' The Expos took a 1-0 lead in the third on a RBI double by Jose
Macias that scored Brian Schneider, who hit a single with one out.
They didn't get another hit until the ninth inning. Duckworth, making his second start since returning after being
sent to the bullpen for a week, retired 12 consecutive batters at
one point and 13 of the last 14 he faced. He didn't make it past
the third inning in his last two starts. "It boosts your confidence big-time, facing a good lineup and
Bartolo Colon'' he said. "But you can't get too high because
there's a long way to go.''
Abreu's homer gave the Phillies homers in 15 straight
games, breaking the club record set in 1922. The stat wasn't kept
before 1911. ... Expos OF Vladimir Guererro had his hitting streak
snapped at 11 games. ... The Phillies are 17-11 since trading
All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen to St. Louis. ... Montreal's 26
wins on the road are the fifth-fewest in the NL. ... The Phillies,
who lead the majors in runners left on base, were 1-for-9 with
runners in scoring position.