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Expos' Guerrero falls triple short of cycle

MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Expos are closing in, and their
fans are turning out.

Pinch-hitter Joe Vitiello singled home the go-ahead run in the
seventh inning as Montreal beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-6
Wednesday night and moved within one game of the NL wild-card lead.

An enthusiastic crowd of 20,105 was on hand as the Expos won
their fourth straight overall and eighth in a row at home.

"This crowd was awesome tonight," Vitiello said. "I wish we
could have this type of crowd here every night. It just fires us
up, and we just want to go out there and give everything we've
got."

Montreal has drawn 63,115 in the first three games of the
series.

"It's the noise," center fielder Brad Wilkerson said. "They
give a lot of energy, and it's impressive to see them in the
stands."

Montreal led 6-1 in the seventh, but Pat Burrell hit an RBI
double and Marlon Byrd silenced the crowd when he tied the score
with his first career grand slam. The homer came against Hector
Almonte (1-1), who got his first major league win.

Endy Chavez hit a two-out double off Dan Plesac (2-1) in the
bottom half to bring back the crowd noise and Vitiello, hitting for
Almonte, lined a single to right for a 7-6 lead.

"It's a very good influence," Expos manager Frank Robinson
said. "Tonight the crowd really carried us. They responded to
everything we did tonight."

Brian Schneider added a two-run double in the eighth off Carlos
Silva.

"We wouldn't have won this game last week on the road,"
Robinson said. "Good things seem to happen in this building for
us. I don't know what it is."

Philadelphia has lost five straight and fell to 1-8 on a
season-high, 13-game trip.

"We had three tough ones here," Plesac said. "We had a big
swing that got us back in it but you've got to give them credit,
they're getting big two-out hits and making great plays. They're
tough at home and they put it to us. We've got to try to get one
tomorrow."

Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero hit his 19th homer and went 3-for-4
with two RBI, falling a triple short of the cycle. Rocky Biddle
got four outs for his 31st save in 37 chances.

Phillies reliever Turk Wendell was ejected by plate umpire Brian
O'Nora in the eighth after hitting Guerrero in the eighth with a
pitch, a batter after Wendell hit Jose Vidro.

Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa sprinted from the dugout to
argue with O'Nora and crew chief Jerry Crawford, who had ejected
Phillies backup catcher Todd Pratt from the dugout in the first.

"It was a joke," Bowa said. "The score is 7-6 and you hit two
guys on purpose? You have to have a feel for the game. If it was
12-6, OK, but 7-6? Come on, it's ludicrous."

Expos starter Tomo Ohka allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1-3
innings. Philadelphia's Brett Myers gave up five runs and 10 hits
in five innings.

Placido Polanco's homer put Philadelphia ahead in the first, but
Brad Wilkerson's RBI single tied the score in the third. Guerrero's
homer and a bases-loaded walk to Wilkerson put the Expos ahead in
the fourth, Todd Zeile's two-run single made it 5-1 in the fifth
and Guerrero hit an RBI double in the sixth.

Game notes
Geoff Geary, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day, made his major league in
the sixth for the Phillies and allowed one run in one inning. ...
RHP Mike Williams was placed on the Phillies' bereavement list
Wednesday and RHP Terry Adams was placed on the 15-day disabled
list because of a strained left oblique muscle. Williams left the
team Wednesday to attend to family medical matters. RHP Brandon
Duckworth was called up from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was expected
to arrive in Montreal on Wednesday evening. ... Over 14,000 tickets
were sold for the game on Wednesday. ... The Expos are averaging
11,701 through 52 games in Montreal. They averaged 14,248 in their
first 16 games in San Juan, Puerto Rico.