After getting recalled from Triple-A Edmonton on April 24, Vargas opened 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA over his first seven starts. But he emerged as the Expos’ best pitcher in June, going 3-1 with a 1.43 ERA.
“I try to do my job and keep the ball down,” said Vargas, who was acquired from Florida along with Cliff Floyd last July 11.
The 25-year-old Vargas continued that turnaround in his first July start, winning his third straight with Wednesday’s 5-4 victory over Atlanta. He yielded three runs and eight hits over 7 1-3 innings.
“He has good stuff, good location and goes out there and throws strikes,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “His control is exceptional for a young pitcher.”
Myers has also won three straight, improving to 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA over his last four starts with Wednesday’s 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs. He allowed two runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings, striking out five without issuing a walk.
Philadelphia has dropped four straight after winning 13 of 16 with Monday’s 8-1 loss. Livan Hernandez pitched his second complete game of the year and Brian Schneider hit a two-run double to highlight a five-run fourth inning for the Expos.
Orlando Cabrera went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, including his 13th homer, for Montreal, which ended a three-game losing streak.
Both benches cleared in the fourth after Brandon Duckworth hit Hernandez on the right arm with a pitch. No punches were thrown, but Phillies manager Larry Bowa was ejected for the fifth time this season.
“I was protesting because (Hernandez) started to go to the mound to get Duckworth, screaming at him. Why wasn’t he kicked out of the game?” Bowa said. “I mean, Duckworth’s in a jam. He’s not going to hit the pitcher on purpose. I told (the umpire) to use a little bit of common sense, that’s all. I said, ‘You’re the ones who let it get out of hand.”’
STANDINGS: Phillies - 2nd place, 8 1/2 GB, NL East. Expos - 3rd place, 9 GB, NL East.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Myers (8-6, 3.57 ERA). Myers is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two career starts against Montreal.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Vargas (6-3, 2.82 ERA). Vargas didn’t figure into the decision of his lone career start against Philadelphia, allowing one run and five hits over five innings of the Expos 4-1 loss on June 1.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .322 avg.; Jim Thome, 22 HRs, 62 RBIs and 57 runs; Bobby Abreu, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco, 9 SBs. Expos - Jose Vidro, .329 avg.; Cabrera, 13 HRs, 50 RBIs and 58 runs; Endy Chavez, 15 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 4-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - 1B Thome is 11 RBIs away from 1,000 for his career. … The Phillies have won five of their last seven on the road. … Philadelphia’s bullpen has allowed just six runs over its last 14 games for a 1.04 ERA. Expos - The Expos, who have played just 24 of their first 88 games in Montreal, will play 25 of their next 37 games at Olympic Stadium. … C Michael Barrett is 7-for-17 (.412) with a double, three homers and five RBIs in his last five games. … OF Ron Calloway, filling in for injured OF Vladimir Guerrero, is batting .333 (15-for-45) with three doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs over his last 11 games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 21-19 on the road; Expos - 27-14 at home.
INJURIES: Phillies - INF Tyler Houston (finger), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL. Expos - OF Guerrero (back), 15-day DL; INF Fernando Tatis (chest), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Luis Ayala (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Zach Day (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 15-day DL.