PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Montreal Expos haven't been part of
anything like it, nor do they want to go through it again. The road
trip seemingly without end is finally over, and all they could do
was sigh in relief.
The Expos stopped a season's-worst six-game losing streak,
winning for only the eighth time on a 22-game trip that covered
11,310 miles, 25 days and ranged from Seattle to San Juan, Puerto
Rico, their part-time home. They play in Montreal on Friday for the
first time since May 25.
"Nothing has been like this," said Expos manager Frank
Robinson, who has in the majors as a player, manager or executive
since the 1950s. "There's been nothing with this much travel."
For most of the trip, the Expos' biggest problem was simply
getting from third to home -- a problem they finally solved in the
seventh. Wilkerson had a sacrifice fly and Guzman added an RBI
single in a go-ahead, two-run inning against Pittsburgh's bullpen,
only their second multirun inning in 70 innings, or nearly eight
"We had some key at-bats in that inning," Robinson said. "I
wasn't surprised by it, but we haven't been doing that."
Tomo Ohka (5-7) got the victory, limiting the Pirates to one run
and six hits over six innings to win for the second time in seven
starts. It was the first time in 10 starts he didn't allow a homer.
The Expos went from two games out to seven games out in the NL
East during a trip that took them to Miami, Philadelphia, San Juan,
Seattle, Oakland and Pittsburgh. Still, Wilkerson said it could
have been worse.
"We didn't get buried," he said. "Now we can get back home,
get in a routine, play some good baseball. We're still right there.
It's going to be a relief to get back home."
Wilkerson called the trip "mentally and physically exhausting.
It was an experience I hope I don't have to do again."
The Pirates don't want to go through this again, either. They
stranded eight runners in the first six innings and 11 overall to
halt a four-game winning streak. They swept a doubleheader
Wednesday night -- their first such sweep of the Expos in 21 years --
to assure themselves of their first series victory at home this
"I'm sure we would have taken two of three when the series
started but, when you've got a chance to sweep, it would have been
nice to capitalize on it," Pirates starter Kip Wells said.
The Expos also left eight runners on in the first six innings
before finally breaking through in the seventh.
Salomon Torres (4-2), the third Pirates pitcher, got into
trouble as Orlando Cabrera and Jose Vidro singled and Wil Cordero
walked to load the bases with one out. Left-hander Joe Beimel came
in to face the left handed-hitting Wilkerson and Guzman, but
Wilkerson lofted a sacrifice fly and Guzman lined a single to
Randall Simon's run-scoring single against rookie reliever Julio
Manon cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, but Luis
Ayala got Adam Hyzdu to ground into an inning-ending force out with
the bases loaded.
"We actually played pretty well, but it all came down to
getting big hits," the Pirates' Brian Giles said. "They got them
and we didn't."
Ayala stayed on for a scoreless eighth before Rocky Biddle
pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 21 opportunities. He bounced
back after allowing pinch-hitter Jason Kendall's game-winning,
two-run double in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader.
Wells was lifted after giving up one run and seven hits,
constantly working out of trouble while throwing 100 pitches in
five innings. It was the eighth time in his 13 starts Wells hasn't
figured in the decision.
Wells didn't give up a homer for only the second time in
eight starts. ... Wells is 0-2 in five home starts this season and
hasn't won in PNC Park since beating the Expos on June 26. He is
0-6 in 12 home starts since then. ... The Expos are 13-5 in
Montreal, 10-6 in San Juan and 17-21 on the road. ... The two teams
played three games in slightly less than 23 hours. ... Hyzdu,
playing right field, prevented another Expos run from scoring in
the ninth by sticking out his glove to make a running, off-balance
catch of Jamey Carroll's long drive.