Expos 4, Giants 2

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MONTREAL (AP)—Sidney Ponson left the Montreal Expos with little margin for a comeback, making the one they pulled off that much more spectacular.

Brad Wilkerson hit his second grand slam of the season with two outs in the ninth inning, giving Montreal a 4-2 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

Wilkerson drove closer Tim Worrell’s 3-2 pitch over the center-field wall for the Expos’ sixth game-ending homer of the season and spoiling Ponson’s best start for the Giants.

“We got outpitched up until two outs in the ninth,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “You couldn’t ask for anything closer—two outs, two strikes, just one swing of the bat and we got a big, big hit. We won it today in grand, grand fashion.”

Wilkerson was mobbed by his teammates at home plate and brought out of the dugout for a curtain call by the Olympic Stadium crowd of 17,655.

“I knew I put a charge into it,” said Wilkerson, who hit his first career grand slam on April 11. “It felt really good to drive in the game-winning run. It was a big, big win for us.”

Ponson (0-3) breezed through the first eighth innings in his third start for San Francisco and came within two outs of his first NL win, complete game, and shutout.

“I know you can’t say that in the paper but I am (very upset),” Ponson said. “It’s worthless to throw a game like that and lose it.”

Acquired from Baltimore on July 31 in a trade for Damian Moss, prospect Kurt Ainsworth and minor league left-hander Ryan Hannaman, Ponson allowed four hits and struck out six in 8 1-3 innings. He didn’t walk a batter until the ninth.

“He gave it all he had and he’s got nothing to be ashamed of,” Giants right fielder Jose Cruz Jr. said. “I’m sure he wants to get that first win and we want to give it to him.”

After Jose Vidro’s one-out double in the ninth, Ponson walked Vladimir Guerrero and Orlando Cabrera to load the bases and was removed for Worrell.

“I was glad to see him go,” Robinson said. “He was tough today.”

Worrell struck out Wil Cordero on a 3-2 pitch and worked a full count to Wilkerson before he hit his 14th homer of the season.

“The guys in front of me in the ninth did a great job getting on with quality at-bats,” Wilkerson said. “I got to 3-2 and felt I missed a pitch before and I was fortunate to get it back.”

It was Worrell’s fifth blown save and extended the Giants’ losing streak to five.

“I was trying to throw a fastball low and away, and it was middle and up,” Worrell said.

Rocky Biddle (4-5) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.

San Francisco, which is winless in six games against Montreal this season, played its third straight game without Barry Bonds, who is on bereavement leave to be with his ailing father.

Pedro Feliz doubled twice, including an RBI double off Tomo Ohka in the first.

San Francisco got its second run on Ohka’s bases-loaded wild pitch in the seventh.

Marquis Grissom started and went 1-for-5 despite a bruised left hand. Grissom left Saturday’s 4-1 loss when he was struck on his left hand by a pitch and sent for X-rays, which revealed no fracture.

Ponson faced the minimum through four, allowing a second-inning single to Cabrera. But he caught Cabrera off first, beginning an inning-ending rundown that he completed by applying the tag.

Jose Cruz Jr., who singled to lead off the game before scoring on Feliz’s RBI double, walked to begin the seventh. Cruz advanced to third on Feliz’s second double and, one out later, Edgardo Alfonzo was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Ohka’s first pitch to Andres Galarraga sailed outside past catcher Brian Schneider to the backstop, allowing Cruz to score his second run of the game.

Ohka, who has one win in his last nine starts, allowed eight hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings.

Expos center fielder Endy Chavez robbed Feliz of a third extra-base hit in the second as he leaped into the wall to make a backhanded catch on Feliz’sdrive to right center.


Ponson made his fourth career start against Montreal, his third at Olympic Stadium. He was 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in three outings against the Expos with Baltimore from 1998-00. … It was Dennis Martinez bobblehead day. Martinez, who pitched a perfect game for the Expos in Los Angeles on July 28, 1991, was given a warm ovation when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and again when he was introduced to the crowd on the video board during the game. … Wilkerson’s hit his first grand slam off New York’s David Cone in a 10-0 win over the Mets in Montreal’s first of 22 games in Puerto Rico thisseason.

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