NEW YORK (AP) -- Bench coach Eddie Rodriguez got the opportunity
to be manager for a day in the Montreal Expos' next-to-last game
before moving to Washington, and the task was simple.
"You get where you want to match up the right guys against
people in the right spots, that's the big thing," Rodriguez said
as he sat behind the manager's desk in the Expos' clubhouse while
Frank Robinson listened nearby.Brad Wilkerson's three-run homer in the ninth inning led the
Expos to a 6-3 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday night and
made Rodriguez a winner."My first one," he said proudly. "It was a great learning
experience."Wilkerson doubled and scored in the first inning, doubled again
in the fifth and then hit his 32nd homer of the season with two men
on to win it in the ninth."Anytime you win a ballgame like that, it always feels good,"
he said. "On top of that, it could be the last home run (for the
franchise) and that would be a special moment to have that
happen."Wilkerson connected against reliever Braden Looper (2-5) after
an error by Kaz Matsui -- making his second start at second base --
and a walk to pinch-hitter Ryan Church.Juan Rivera and Valentino Pascucci also homered for the Expos,
who have won the first two games of the series against the Mets.
The team is relocating following the season after 36 years in
Montreal.Mike Cameron hit his career-high 30th homer for the Mets."It's a nice accomplishment, considering a lot of the things I
went through during the course of the season with injuries and
illness," Cameron said.New York tied it at 3 in the eighth when Matsui beat out an
infield single and David Wright followed with a double off the
right-field wall. Mike Piazza was walked intentionally and Gerald
Williams reached on shortstop Maicer Izturis' throwing error, which
allowed Matsui to score.Chad Cordero (7-3) came in and retired Cameron and Victor Diaz,
keeping it tied at 3 and setting the stage for Wilkerson's winning
homer into the left-field bullpen.Gary Majewski pitched the ninth for his first major league save.Rivera and Pascucci hit sixth-inning homers on full-count
pitches from New York starter Al Leiter to give the Expos a 3-1
lead."I hung a 3-2 curveball for Rivera to hit," Leiter said.
"Then, with Pascucci, I just got careless there. I didn't have
much regard for executing the pitch and at 3-2, he got much too
good a pitch to hit. And he did."Expos starter Livan Hernandez limited the Mets to six hits over
seven innings, striking out seven and walking none.Wilkerson opened the game with a double and after Rivera was
walked intentionally with two out, Terrmel Sledge hit an RBI
single.Hernandez protected the lead until the fifth when Cameron tied
it with his homer.Rivera led off the sixth with his 12th homer to restore
Montreal's lead. One out later, Pascucci hit his second homer,
making it 3-1. The homer ended a 2-for-34 slide since his Sept. 1
recall from Triple-A Edmonton.In the seventh, Eric Valent hit a leadoff double for the Mets
and scored on Diaz's RBI single. Hernandez then retired Todd Zeile
and pinch-hitter Craig Brazell, leaving the tying run stranded.
Ceremonies honoring Zeile, who is retiring after this
season, were postponed until Sunday because of bad weather. Zeile
batted fourth Friday night and eighth Saturday night ... Cameron's
homer was his 996th career hit, four short of 1,000. ... The start
was the 36th of the season for Hernandez, a career high. He
finished the year with a major league-high 255 innings pitched.