Montreal, Puerto Rico, Portland, Seattle. The Expos don’t care where they play as long as they keep winning.
With speculation regarding their future home making headlines, the red-hot Expos hope to extend their winning streak to a season-high six as they resume a three-game interleague series with the American League-leading Seattle Mariners.
Owned and operated by Major League Baseball, Montreal is playing 22 of its home games in Puerto Rico this season in an attempt to boost revenues. On Tuesday, baseball officials made a visit to Portland to discuss the city’s bid for the Expos. Washington and Northern Virginia also remain in the running for landing the financially troubled franchise.
Fortunately for the Expos, their focus was on Safeco Field on Tuesday.
The Expos, on a 22-game, 25-day, six-city trip away from Olympic Stadium, beat a Mariners team that just returned from a club record-setting 11-1 road trip.
Despite the loss, Seattle remained tied with Atlanta for the best record in the majors.
Jeff Cirillo had three hits for the Mariners, who had won 20 of 25 overall before Tuesday’s setback.
Seattle has lost three straight at home.
STANDINGS: Expos - 2nd place, 5 GB, NL East. Mariners - 1st place, AL West.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Livan Hernandez (5-4, 3.68 ERA). Hernandez has split his last four starts, and is coming off Friday’s 13-10 win in Texas, where he yielded five runs and nine hits over seven innings, striking out six and walking three. Hernandez lost his only previous start against Seattle, surrendering five runs and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Joel Pineiro (5-4, 4.02 ERA). Piniero has won three of his last four decisions, but did not earn one in Seattle’s 5-4 victory at Philadelphia on Thursday. The right-hander allowed four runs and five hits over six innings, striking out six and walking four. Piniero is making his first appearance against the Expos.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Expos - Jose Vidro, .335 avg.; Orlando Cabrera, 9 HRs and 41 runs; Brad Wilkerson, 36 RBIs; Endy Chavez, 11 SBs. Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki, .329 avg. and 14 SBs; Boone, 17 HRs, 50 RBIs and 52 runs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Expos - 5-2. Mariners - 5-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Expos - Montreal manager Frank Robinson doesn’t have any idea when the Expos will get All-Star outfielder Vladimir Guerrero back. Guerrero was placed on the disabled list Friday because of a herniated disc in his back. … RHP Hernandez is 1-2 with a 3.19 ERA in five road starts this year. … Montreal also won five in a row from April 10-14. Mariners - The Mariners got DH Edgar Martinez back in the starting lineup Tuesday after playing six consecutive games in NL parks. But Martinez went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. … Seattle has not lost consecutive games since May 24-25 against Minnesota. … RHP Pineiro is 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in seven road starts this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Expos - 15-15 on the road; Mariners - 17-12 at home.
INJURIES: Expos - OF Guerrero (back), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Zach Day (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL. Mariners - OF John Mabry (shoulder), 15-day DL.