They hope Wednesday night is a sign of things to come.
Beltre’s three-run homer in the 10th inning led the Dodgers to a 4-1 victory over Montreal and ended the Expos’ six-game winning streak.
Jolbert Cabrera hit a one-out double in the 10th against Rocky Biddle (4-6), who intentionally walked Jeromy Burnitz before Beltre drove a 1-1 pitch into the pavilion in left-center for his 15th homer.
“It’s a great confidence boost for Adrian,” teammate Dave Roberts said. “They pitch around Burnitz to get to him and he comes up with the big home run. He had a couple of tough at-bats during the game, but he was able to clear his head and come up with the biggest at-bat of the game.”
Eric Gagne (2-3) got the victory despite allowing a run and three hits in two innings. Vladimir Guerrero tied Andre Dawson for first place on the Expos’ career home run list, taking Gagne deep with one out in the ninth to snap a scoreless tie.
But the Dodgers tied it in the bottom half on Ron Coomer’s run-scoring groundout against Biddle. Alex Cora started the rally with an infield single and continued to second as second baseman Jose Vidro made an off-balance throw into the dugout.
Cora took third on Cesar Izturis’ sacrifice and Coomer—who replaced Robin Ventura at first base on a double switch in the ninth—hit a dribbler to third baseman Jamey Carroll. Cora edged toward home until Carroll made his throw to first, then broke for the plate and beat the throw from Wil Cordero.
“Carroll had no decision to make because he doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “He’s got to come get the ball and focus on getting an out now. The catcher’s right there, looking at the play develop, so he’s got to get Carroll’s attention and let him know what’s going on behind him—and then maybe he can react to it.”
Guerrero, ejected from Tuesday night’s game after arguing a disputed homer by Shawn Green, drove an 0-2 pitch into the lower seats in the left-field corner for his 16th homer and 225th of his career—reaching that figure in 1,984 fewer at-bats than Dawson.
“It’s hard to compare them because they played in different eras. Both of them are great players, but Vladimir is a superstar,” said Gagne, who grew up in Montreal and witnessed the latter part of Dawson’s All-Star career. “Vladimir’s a great, great hitter. And if you make a mistake on him, he’s going to make you pay for it.”
It was only the second homer allowed by Gagne, who’s converted all 41 save opportunities this year and 49 straight overall. The homer snapped a scoreless streak of 21 1-3 innings by the Dodgers’ All-Star closer.
Wilson Alvarez and Livan Hernandez were locked in a scoreless duel for seven innings. Alvarez gave up just three singles and struck out six before he was removed for a pinch-hitter. The Dodgers’ lefty has allowed just one earned run in 20 innings over his last three outings with 20 strikeouts.
“The way the game was going, we knew it would go down to the wire,” Vidro said. “Both starters did a great job out there. Alvarez was throwing live fastballs, moving it in and out and throwing his off-speed pitches good. He was really in command.”
Hernandez also was lifted for a pinch-hitter, after allowing six hits and striking out five. The right-hander, who’s won seven of his last eight decisions, allowed fewer than three earned runs for the sixth straight games after pitching consecutive complete games against Houston and San Francisco.
Todd Zeile, signed by the Expos on Wednesday after getting released by the Yankees three days earlier, walked and singled his first two times up.
Expos catcher Brian Schneider prevented a run in the fifth when he threw out Roberts trying to steal second with one out. Paul Lo Duca and Cabrera followedwith singles before Burnitz lined out to first.
Green left after four innings because of a spasm in the left side of his neck. … The Expos are Zeile’s 11th major league team. … Hernandez entered 5-10 against the Dodgers with a 4.78 ERA in 17 starts. … Schneider, who has started 22 of the last 23 games with Michael Barrett on the DL, has thrown out 15 of 37 baserunners trying to steal. … Montreal transferred right-hander Dan Smith to the 60-day disabled list and optioned left-handerScott Downs to Triple-A Edmonton.