Expos 4, Reds 2
CINCINNATI (AP)—The two Expos players with cheering sections did a number on the home team.
The Reds had their biggest walk-up crowd since they started keeping track of the statistic in 1987. They sold 10,755 tickets when the gates opened on Friday.
The crowd of 32,701 watched the NL Central leaders get beat by a hometown prep star and a boyhood visitor.
Day, the city’s top high school player in 1995, had a cheering section behind the visitors’ dugout and a larger one in the outfield stands. He estimated that more than 100 relatives and friends bought tickets to his first major league appearance in his hometown.
“You always dream of playing for the Reds or, if you can’t, playing against them,” said Day, 25. “It’s a dream that not a lot of people get to fulfill. It was a long time coming.”
Wilkerson grew up in Kentucky and attended Reds games as a youth. He had several dozen fans cheering his first multihomer game this season.
“It’s always fun to come back to Cincinnati,” Wilkerson said.
The rest of the crowd didn’t have much to cheer except for Dunn’s broken-bat homer.
“I was hoping we would have a happy ending for them,” manager Dave Miley said.
Cincinnati got runners on first and third with two outs in the ninth against Rocky Biddle, but pinch-hitter Barry Larkin took a called third strike to end it. Larkin started toward first, thinking the pitch was outside, before umpire Dale Scott called him out.
Ken Griffey Jr. was 1-for-2 with a single and two walks, leaving him at 495 career homers. Griffey has closed in on the 500-homer mark by hitting six in his last 12 games.
Sean Casey was 0-for-4, dropping the NL’s top average eight points to .383.
Wilkerson had three hits off Jose Acevedo (3-4), who couldn’t halt the leadoff hitter’s tear. Wilkerson has three doubles and five homers in his last seven games.
“It’s weird,” Wilkerson said. “I’m not swinging at too many bad pitches. I don’t know if that’s from being relaxed. That’s what I’ve got to do.”
The other popular Expo had only one bad moment. Day walked Griffey on four pitches to open the Reds’ second, then gave up Dunn’s 15th homer.
Dunn has only four hits in his last 40 at-bats, all of them homers. He also homered off Day in Montreal last Saturday, snapping an 0-for-23 slump and setting up a 4-1 Cincinnati win.
“I was more upset with the walk to Griffey,” Day said. “When a guy breaks his bat and hits a home run, that’s great for him.”
Day recovered from the one shaky inning. The right-hander walked three and struck out five overall.
“He’s a great young pitcher, and Montreal is lucky to have him over there,” Casey said.
The Expos set a club record by stranding 17 runners—their most in a nine-inning game—during an 8-4 victory in Atlanta on Wednesday. They were much more efficient this time, leaving only five on base.
The four runs amounted to a breakthrough for Day, who usually gets little help. Montreal has scored only 21 runs in his 11 starts and been shut out three times.
Terrmel Sledge bunted for a single to open the seventh—he dived headfirst past Casey to avoid the tag and reach the bag. Wilkerson hit his ninth homerwith two outs.
The Expos activated left-hander Rigo Beltran from the 15-day disabled list and outrighted him to Triple-A Edmonton. Beltran strained a muscle in his side while warming up and went on the DL on May 4. … The Reds placed RHP Aaron Harang on the 15-day DL with a sore pitching elbow and activated 3B Brandon Larson off the DL. Larson got hit on the right forearm in his first plate appearance but stayed in the game. … Larkin did not start due to sore abdominal muscles. OF Austin Kearns also got another day off because of a soreon his thumb.