Pirates 6, Expos 5

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MONTREAL (AP)—Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon was in a much better mood Wednesday.

Pinch-hitter Kenny Lofton drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly as the Pirates scored three unearned runs in the ninth inning then held on for a 6-5 win over the Montreal Expos.

The Expos, who were awaiting word on whether Texas slugger Juan Gonzalez would accept his trade to Montreal, fell short of a sweep to finish a 3-3 homestand.

“We’ve just got to worry about the games and what happens here in the clubhouse,” Expos catcher Brian Schneider said. “All that other news—listen to it on the radio and TV and read about it in the newspapers, and that’s about all we can take from that.”

Gonzalez refused to talk to reporters in Texas.

After unleashing a profanity-laced tirade in front of reporters Tuesday after Pittsburgh dropped the first two games of the series, McClendon was in good spirits following the game, even though his team came close to blowing a three-run lead in the ninth.

“I’m used to it,” McClendon said. “We’ve done that time and time again this year. I don’t consider any win a bad win or an ugly win. They’re all good as long as you get them.”

Pittsburgh’s Jeff Reboulet had four hits—including his first homer in almost two years—and two RBIs. Reggie Sanders also homered for the Pirates, who ended a three-game losing streak.

“We were able to hang on and win the last game of the series, which is important for us,” Reboulet said.

Expos reliever Joey Eischen (1-1) walked pinch-hitter Adam Hyzdu to begin the ninth and bounced his throw to second on pinch-hitter Abraham Nunez’s bunt back to the mound. His throwing error allowed Hyzdu to advance to third.

“We practiced that on Monday and you can’t go out there and hold your hands and remind them of it at the time,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “They have to perform under pressure once the game is going on and he did not do it the way you’re supposed to do it on that play.”

Lofton then hit a deep drive off T.J. Tucker, scoring Hyzdu.

The Pirates added two more runs in the inning on RBI singles by Jason Kendall and Reboulet.

“We’ve been playing really well—we had a chance to sweep and I took that chance away,” Eischen said.

Closer Mike Williams allowed a two-run homer to Ron Calloway with one out in the ninth, making it 6-5. He allowed Schneider’s double and walked pinch-hitter Wil Cordero before getting Chavez to ground into a force and Edwards Guzman to pop out to first baseman Craig Wilson for his 20th save in 23 opportunities.

“It was a little hairy, but the guys got it done,” McClendon said.

Scott Sauerbeck (3-4) struck out one in two perfect innings.

The start of the game was delayed for 42 minutes after a power surge in an area subway station plunged Olympic Stadium into near darkness 15 minutes before the scheduled start. The lights need time to come back online.

Trailing 3-1 after Reboulet homered for the first time in nearly two years in the sixth, Montreal scored twice in the bottom half.

Chavez, who scored Montreal’s first run on Orlando Cabrera’s RBI hit in the first, singled to lead off the sixth and scored on Guzman’s RBI hit-and-run single. One out later, Guzman advanced to second on Jose Vidro’s single.

The Pirates had a chance to escape with the lead when Brad Wilkerson grounded to second for a potential inning-ending double play, but Reboulet misplayed the ball, allowing Guzman to score the tying run while Vidro advanced to second and Wilkerson reached safely on the error.

Sanders tied it with his team-leading 11th homer off Javier Vazquez in the second.

Pirates rookie Carlos Rivera, making his second major league start since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Sunday, doubled with one out in the fifth and scored on Jack Wilson’s RBI single to put Pittsburgh up 2-1.

Reboulet made it 3-1 when he connected on Vazquez’s first pitch of the sixth for his first homer since July 28, 2001.

The homer was the 20th Vazquez has allowed in 17 starts this season.


The Expos announced a deal for at least 14 French language TV broadcasts with cable network RDS (Reseau des Sports), beginning with Friday’s game in Toronto. The team has no English TV deal. … Pittsburgh’s Craig Wilson, who entered the game in right field in the seventh, hit a fly off the Olympic Stadium roof in the eighth. Second baseman Jose Vidro caught the ball in shallow center field. … Schneider was struck in the back of the head by the follow through of Aramis Ramirez’s bat as he popped out to first in the fourth. Schneider was checked by trainer John Adam and remained in the game…. Vazquez allowed a team record 31 homers in 1998, his rookie season.

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