LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The three clutch outs Montreal rookie
reliever Chad Cordero got to bail himself out of a seventh-inning
jam were just as vital as the season-high three home runs the Expos
hit to end their six-game losing streak.
Orlando Cabrera hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth, Juan
Rivera had a pinch-hit, two-run shot in the eighth and Brad
Wilkerson went deep in the ninth, giving the Expos a 6-4 victory
over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh when
Alex Cora singled, pinch-hitter Jason Grabowski walked and Dave
Roberts bunted past Cordero and third baseman Tony Batista for a
hit. But Cesar Izturis and Adrian Beltre both popped out and Shawn
Green flied out to right after pitching coach Randy St. Claire made
a trip to the mound to talk with Cordero.
"I got myself in a little bit of trouble because I wasn't being
aggressive," the right-hander said. "St. Claire came out and
talked to me and told me to stop nibbling. I took his advice and
went right after the guys. I just tried to make the best pitch I
could to all three of those batters, and luckily came out on top."
The Dodgers were still bemoaning their squandered opportunity in
a silent clubhouse while packing for their six-game trip to Florida
"It was a perfect spot for us, with the 2-3-4 guys coming up,"
first baseman Robin Ventura said. "You wish you could have gotten
more out of it, but that kid battled and worked out of it."
Expos manager Frank Robinson was thrilled with the poise the
22-year-old Cordero displayed under that much adversity.
"You could almost bet the ranch that if that inning had gotten
away from us, we would not have won that game. But he did the job
and just picked everybody up," Robinson said. "I stayed with him
because we didn't have that much left in the bullpen. I just
thought it was time for him to step up, and he did in a big way."
Sun-woo Kim (1-0) earned his first win in the majors since July
2, 2002, allowing two runs and four hits over five innings with
four strikeouts and two walks.
The Korean-born right-hander, 3-2 with a 5.30 ERA in 11 career
starts, entered with a streak of 11 2-3 scoreless innings -- all in
Cabrera led off the sixth with his third of the season to give
the Expos a 3-2 lead against Hideo Nomo (3-3). Wilkerson's second
homer of the season made it 6-2 in the ninth.
Nomo, pitching in 98-degree weather on the ninth anniversary of
his major league debut, allowed three runs and seven hits in
five-plus innings. The right-hander had won his previous six
decisions against the Expos dating to June 7, 1995.
"I don't think the heat affected him that much. He threw well
enough to win," catcher David Ross said. "I don't think he was
laboring too much. The pitch to Cabrera was a fastball, middle-up.
That's where Cabrera likes it, and he hit it pretty good."
The Expos scored a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on
Rivera's first career pinch homer, giving Montreal a 5-2 lead.
"It didn't surprise me at all," said Ventura, a teammate of
Rivera's with the New York Yankees. "He's a good player. In New
York, he came in at a time when we needed an outfielder, and he
filled in and did a good job."
The Dodgers made a belated rally in the ninth on Olmedo Saenz's
sacrifice fly and Beltre's RBI single against Rocky Biddle. But
Biddle escaped the jam on a popup by Encarnacion, who was 6-for-12
in the series and scored five runs.
Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Ventura's RBI
single. Montreal tied it in the fifth when Terrmel Sledge led off
with a double, took third on Kim's single and scored on a groundout
by Jose Vidro.
Endy Chavez opened the game with a single, was sacrificed to
second, stole third and scored on Batista's sacrifice fly. The
Dodgers tied it when Encarnacion drove Kim's first pitch of the
second inning to center field for his 100th career homer, and
fourth this season.
The Dodgers named Gary Miereanu their vice president of
communications. He replaces the popular Derrick Hall, who left the
club last month because of philosophical differences with new
owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. ... Nomo is 117-93 in 287 big
league starts with a 3.90 ERA and 1,817 strikeouts in 1,820 1-3
innings. ... Dodgers CF Milton Bradley missed his third straight
game because of a sprained left ankle. ... Rivera's homer was the
first by an Expos pinch-hitter since Brian Schneider's grand slam
on Sept. 15, 2003, against Trey Hodges in a 10-6 loss to Atlanta.