Phillies 5, Expos 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Marlon Byrd isn’t giving up his leadoff spot anytime soon.
The rookie center fielder finished 4-for-5, and is hitting .412 (14-for-34) since moving up to the top spot from the No. 8 hole seven games ago.
“It’s great to get in the action early,” Byrd said about hitting first. “Your job is to make things happen.”
The Phillies, who lead the NL wild-card race, have won six of seven. Montreal has lost eight of 10.
Jimmy Rollins started the 11th with a double off Tim Drew (0-2). Rollins was replaced by pinch runner Nick Punto after injuring himself running to second. Punto advanced to third on Pat Burrell’s fly out to center. Pinch hitter Jason Michaels grounded out to third and Tomas Perez was intentionally walked
Byrd then hit a 1-0 pitch over the left-center field wall for his third homer. He was mobbed at home plate by several teammates, touching off a wild celebration.
“I’ll be sore tomorrow. They got some good punches in,” said Byrd, who has raised his average from .193 on June 1 to .300.
The Expos had a chance to take the lead in the ninth when pinch hitter Michael Barrett hit a double to start the inning off Cormier, and moved to third on a sacrifice by Carroll.
After pinch hitter Joe Vitiello struck out, Endy Chavez hit a check-swing bouncer in front of the plate. Cormier, realizing he couldn’t get the speedy Chavez at first, charged, scooped the ball with his glove and shoveled it to catcher Mike Lieberthal to get Barrett at the plate.
“It was a reaction play. I’ll probably never do it again,” Cormier said.
Phillies starter Kevin Millwood gave up two runs and nine hits in seven innings. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in four straight starts.
Expos starter Tomo Ohka allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings.
“We had a chance in the ninth, but didn’t get it done,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said.
Montreal tied it at 2 in the sixth when Orlando Cabrera opened the inning with a double, stole third and scored on a throwing error by right fielder by Bobby Abreu after Wil Cordero hit a fly ball to right that wasn’t deep enough for Cabrera to tag up.
Rollins gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a two-out RBI double that scored Abreu, who also hit a double.
Tyler Houston’s RBI double in the second put Philadelphia ahead 1-0. Rollins hit a single with two outs and Burrell walked. Houston then lined a double down the left-field line to score Rollins.
Burrell was thrown out at the plate on Houston’s hit, but the struggling left fielder received a standing ovation from some fans for knocking overcatcher Brian Schneider, who held the ball. ^Notes: Expos RF Vladimir Guerrero, out since early June with a herniated disc, went 1-for-2 and scored a run for Single-A Brevard County in his first rehab assignment. … Expos 1B Will Cordero was 0-for-12 against Millwood before hitting a one-out single in the fourth. … Cabrera had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. 2B Jose Vidro extended his streak to 10 games. … Montreal had two stolen bases. Phillies catchers have thrown out just 11.6 percent (10 of 86) of baserunners trying to steal this season. … Expos closerRocky Biddle left the game after straining a muscle in his back in the 10th.