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Fick's two homers, five RBI bury Expos

6/11/2002

DETROIT (AP) -- Juan Acevedo knew the smart move might be to
throw a breaking ball to Vladimir Guerrero.

He chose not to do so. Instead, he threw five straight fastballs
to Guerrero and got him to strike out swinging with the tying run
on base to finish the Detroit Tigers' 6-4 victory over the Montreal
Expos on Monday night.

"He could have hit my fastball, but he could have hit an 0-2
breaking ball, too,'' Acevedo said. "I said, 'Here it is, and if
you hit it, you hit it.' I was going with my best pitch and let him
try to beat me.''

The win ended the Tigers' six-game losing streak.

It was Acevedo's eighth save in nine chances. Acevedo took over
as the Tigers' closer when Matt Anderson went on the disabled list
May 19.

He got two quick outs in the ninth before Brad Wilkerson tripled
and Jose Macias -- traded to Montreal by the Tigers in May -- drove
him in with a single. Jose Vidro followed that with an infield
single that brought Guerrero to the plate.

"Obviously, you don't want to see Vladdy in that situation --
you want to end the inning before he gets there,'' said Tigers
manager Luis Pujols, who coached in Montreal for several years.
"I've seen him hit a lot of those, but all I could do is tell Juan
not to throw anything low. He went power vs. power and we got him
out.''

Robert Fick homered twice and drove in five runs, as Detroit won
for just the second time in 12 games, improving to 2-9 on a
season-long 13-game homestand. Montreal lost its second in a row to
drop below .500 at 31-32.

"That's the Robert Fick we saw earlier in the season,'' Pujols
said. "He's finally getting that swing back.''

Adam Bernero (2-2) became the first Detroit starter to win since
Steve Sparks beat Cleveland on May 29. Bernero gave up three runs
on seven hits and five walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out a
career-high seven after allowing nine runs in his previous start.

"It has been an awfully long five days since that last game,''
he said. "It seemed like forever. Even tonight, I didn't feel good
and I didn't have my best stuff.''

Javier Vazquez (4-3) lost for the first time in seven starts. He
allowed six runs -- though just three were earned -- on 10 hits in
five innings. Vazquez hadn't lost since May 5 in Arizona, going 3-0
with three no-decisions.

"It isn't an excuse, but it is harder when you don't know
anything about the opposing hitters,'' he said. "That's the only
bad thing about interleague play.''

Expos manager Frank Robinson was shocked that the slumping
Tigers beat his ace.

"That just should not happen, not in the fashion that it did,''
he said. "There's no way that team should score six runs in five
innings off of him.''

Montreal took a 2-0 lead in the first on RBI singles by Guerrero
and Troy O'Leary, but Fick tied the game in the second with a long
homer just inside the foul pole in right.

Detroit got four singles to start the fourth, but a baserunning
mistake by Fick and an inning-ending double play held the Tigers to
just one run.

Montreal tied the game at 3 in the top of the fifth on Vidro's
sixth homer of the year, but Detroit went ahead for good in the
bottom of the inning.

Ramon Santiago led off with a single, and took second when
shortstop Orlando Cabrera misplayed Damian Jackson's routine
grounder. Vazquez retired the next two hitters before Fick hit a
3-2 pitch into the bullpens in right for his eighth homer of the
year.

Game notes
The multihomer game was the third of Fick's career and his
second this season. He also had two homers on May 17 against Texas.
His five RBI also matched a career best. ... The win was Detroit's
first over the Expos -- they were swept in Montreal in a 1997
series. ... The biggest cheer of the game came when radio-equipped
fans heard that the Detroit Red Wings had taken a 1-0 lead over
Carolina in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. ... The starting
third basemen, Macias and Chris Truby, were traded for each other
on May 16 and were facing their old teams for the first time.