Expos 6, Dodgers 4
LOS ANGELES (AP)—The three clutch outs Montreal rookie reliever Chad Cordero got to bail himself out of a seventh-inning jam were just as vital as the season-high three home runs the Expos hit to end their six-game losing streak.
Orlando Cabrera hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth, Juan Rivera had a pinch-hit, two-run shot in the eighth and Brad Wilkerson went deep in the ninth, giving the Expos a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh when Alex Cora singled, pinch-hitter Jason Grabowski walked and Dave Roberts bunted past Cordero and third baseman Tony Batista for a hit. But Cesar Izturis and Adrian Beltre both popped out and Shawn Green flied out to right after pitching coach Randy St. Claire made a trip to the mound to talk with Cordero.
“I got myself in a little bit of trouble because I wasn’t being aggressive,” the right-hander said. “St. Claire came out and talked to me and told me to stop nibbling. I took his advice and went right after the guys. I just tried to make the best pitch I could to all three of those batters, and luckily came out on top.”
The Dodgers were still bemoaning their squandered opportunity in a silent clubhouse while packing for their six-game trip to Florida and Pittsburgh.
“It was a perfect spot for us, with the 2-3-4 guys coming up,” first baseman Robin Ventura said. “You wish you could have gotten more out of it, but that kid battled and worked out of it.”
Expos manager Frank Robinson was thrilled with the poise the 22-year-old Cordero displayed under that much adversity.
“You could almost bet the ranch that if that inning had gotten away from us, we would not have won that game. But he did the job and just picked everybody up,” Robinson said. “I stayed with him because we didn’t have that much left in the bullpen. I just thought it was time for him to step up, and he did in a big way.”
Sun-woo Kim (1-0) earned his first win in the majors since July 2, 2002, allowing two runs and four hits over five innings with four strikeouts and two walks.
The Korean-born right-hander, 3-2 with a 5.30 ERA in 11 career starts, entered with a streak of 11 2-3 scoreless innings—all in relief.
Cabrera led off the sixth with his third of the season to give the Expos a 3-2 lead against Hideo Nomo (3-3). Wilkerson’s second homer of the season made it 6-2 in the ninth.
Nomo, pitching in 98-degree weather on the ninth anniversary of his major league debut, allowed three runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. The right-hander had won his previous six decisions against the Expos dating to June 7, 1995.
“I don’t think the heat affected him that much. He threw well enough to win,” catcher David Ross said. “I don’t think he was laboring too much. The pitch to Cabrera was a fastball, middle-up. That’s where Cabrera likes it, and he hit it pretty good.”
The Expos scored a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on Rivera’s first career pinch homer, giving Montreal a 5-2 lead.
“It didn’t surprise me at all,” said Ventura, a teammate of Rivera’s with the New York Yankees. “He’s a good player. In New York, he came in at a time when we needed an outfielder, and he filled in and did a good job.”
The Dodgers made a belated rally in the ninth on Olmedo Saenz’s sacrifice fly and Beltre’s RBI single against Rocky Biddle. But Biddle escaped the jam on a popup by Encarnacion, who was 6-for-12 in the series and scored five runs.
Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Ventura’s RBI single. Montreal tied it in the fifth when Terrmel Sledge led off with a double, took third on Kim’s single and scored on a groundout by Jose Vidro.
Endy Chavez opened the game with a single, was sacrificed to second, stole third and scored on Batista’s sacrifice fly. The Dodgers tied it when Encarnacion drove Kim’s first pitch of the second inning to center field forhis 100th career homer, and fourth this season.
The Dodgers named Gary Miereanu their vice president of communications. He replaces the popular Derrick Hall, who left the club last month because of philosophical differences with new owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. … Nomo is 117-93 in 287 big league starts with a 3.90 ERA and 1,817 strikeouts in 1,820 1-3 innings. … Dodgers CF Milton Bradley missed his third straight game because of a sprained left ankle. … Rivera’s homer was the first by an Expos pinch-hitter since Brian Schneider’s grand slam on Sept. 15, 2003, against TreyHodges in a 10-6 loss to Atlanta.