Expos 3, Cubs 2

Preview | Box Score | Recap

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP)—The Montreal Expos left Puerto Rico on a winning note, thanks to pitcher Tomo Ohka and Orlando Cabrera’s aggressive play.

The Chicago Cubs departed the island knowing they just fell short.

Ohka took a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning and Cabrera hit two doubles and a triple as the Expos held off the Cubs 3-2 Thursday.

The Cubs rallied for two runs in the ninth but couldn’t push across the tying run. They stayed one game behind NL Central leader Houston, which lost to Milwaukee 5-3.

“The guy that killed us was Cabrera. Yesterday and today, he had a hot bat,” Chicago manager Dusty Baker said.

Cabrera did not speak to reporters after the game.

Montreal won the series against the Cubs 2-1, and finished their 22 “home” games in Puerto Rico with a 13-9 record.

“He (Ohka) had an outstanding game,” manager Frank Robinson said. “He was very in command, the way he’s capable of doing it.”

Ohka (9-12) said he relied mainly on his fastball in striking out four while allowing two runs on six hits.

“The control was all right, but the fastball was alive,” Ohka said through an interpreter.

Cabrera finished the day 3-for-5, with one RBI and one run scored. He hustled for a double in the fifth and later scored on an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero.

Cabrera also had a triple in the third and another double in the sixth.

Ohka outpitched Mark Prior (15-6), and the Expos’ bullpen barely held on.

“I had good stuff,” Prior said. “But I didn’t pitch well.”

Chicago trailed 3-0 when Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou opened the ninth with singles. Rocky Biddle relieved and walked Aramis Ramirez, loading the bases with no outs.

Eric Karros followed with an RBI single, but Alex Gonzalez then grounded into a double play as another run scored.

Joey Eischen relieved and retired pinch-hitter Randall Simon on a grounder with a runner on second for his first save.

The Expos broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. With one out, Cabrera hustled for a double and Guerrero followed with an RBI single.

Montreal added two more in the sixth. Henry Mateo opened with a single and Ohka sacrificed, setting up RBI doubles by Brad Wilkerson and Cabrera.

Prior escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first when he retired Ohka on a popup and struck out Wilkerson.

After Cabrera tripled in the third, Guerrero hit a shallow fly ball and Ron Calloway grounded out.

Prior twice hit the ball well before leaving after 5 1-3 innings. He had a ground-rule double in the third and hit a long drive in the fifth that centerfielder Endy Chavez caught with a leaping grab at the wall.


Attendance for the game was 12,559. Final attendance for the 22 Expos’ games in Hiram Bithorn Stadium was 312,882, for an average of 14,222 per game…. The game started after a 49-minute rain delay.

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