Expos 9, Braves 8, 11 innings
MONTREAL (AP)—The Montreal Expos pulled together and overcame a huge deficit against one of baseball’s toughest teams.
Ron Calloway hit a tying, two-out double in the ninth inning off John Smoltz, and Orlando Cabrera scored on a wild pitch in the 11th to give Montreal a 9-8 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
“It’s great, especially against the Braves,” Cabrera said. “It was a team effort. We took advantage of their mistakes.”
Atlanta, which entered 52-1 when leading after seven innings, led 8-2 in the eighth.
Improbably, the Expos scored five in the bottom half before Calloway’s double tied the game, sending it to extra innings.
“These guys are something when it comes to peskiness,” Smoltz said.
With one out in the 11th, Cabrera doubled off Jung Keun Bong.
“That was a great time to throw the changeup right there,” Bong said. “I had a lot of confidence in throwing it, but I think I had too much confidence and I tried to throw it harder and it hit the dirt because it was too low.”
After Michael Barrett’s three-run homer drew Montreal to 8-7 in the eighth, Smoltz—who leads the majors with 37 saves—began the ninth with a couple of grounders. But Jose Vidro reached when shortstop Rafael Furcal booted his one-out grounder for an error.
Cabrera struck out before Calloway drove Smoltz’s 1-1 pitch over center fielder Andruw Jones, narrowly missing a game-winning homer as the ball struck a few feet from the top of the 12-foot wall. Vidro scored to the delight of the crowd of 10,069.
“I had a thought it was gone and I got caught up in the moment,” Calloway said. “When I saw Andruw going after it the way he did, I realized it was in the park.”
It was Smoltz’s first blown save since June 19, and just his third in 40 opportunities this season.
“You know, they never roll over so it’s frustrating because it was a game where we had it well in hand,” Smoltz said. “Even for me, in the ninth after the error I felt I was going to get out of it.”
Luis Ayala (7-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the win, despite allowing leadoff singles in the 10th and 11th.
Chipper Jones hit his 18th homer off Claudio Vargas in the sixth to tie it at 2, and Castilla hit his 17th with one out in the seventh.
Lopez hit a three-run shot off Julio Manon in the eighth as the Braves scored four in the inning to take an 8-2 lead.
Montreal came back with five in the bottom half—capped by Barrett’s three-run homer off Ray King—to draw to 8-7.
The Expos won their third straight since beginning a season-high 12-game homestand at Olympic Stadium.
“We’ve still got some life here,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “Barrett’s was a huge hit for us and Calloway put the topping on it, and the 11th was the icing. Everybody just pitched in tonight.”
Vladimir Guerrero, who returned Monday after missing 39 games because of a herniated disc, also homered for Montreal, connecting for the first time since May 15 to end a 52 at-bat home run drought.
Atlanta, which is a major league-best 67-35, lost for just the fourth time in 19 games.
Marcus Giles had four of Atlanta’s 17 hits, including an RBI double. Chipper Jones, Castilla and Lopez all had three hits, each falling a triple short of the cycle.
Braves rookie Horacio Ramirez pitched 7 1-3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. Montreal’s Claudio Vargas allowed 10 hits and four runs in 6 2-3 innings.
King relieved and left fielder Chipper Jones dropped Wilkerson’s fly for an error to load the bases. Macias hit an RBI groundout.
Barrett, who entered hitting .205, sent King’s next pitch over thecenter-field wall for his ninth homer.
The Braves are 6-5 in extra innings. Montreal improved to 7-4. … Atlanta won 12 of its previous 14 games against NL East opponents. … Vidro returned to the lineup after missing two starts because of a strained rightknee. … Lopez has 28 homers.