Dodgers 10, Expos 3
MONTREAL (AP)—Eric Gagne got a farewell from Montreal baseball fans, who might soon be bidding adieu to their Expos.
Adrian Beltre hit his major league-high 41st homer and Gagne was cheered wildly in what was likely his final game in his hometown, a 10-3 rout by the Los Angeles Dodgers of the Expos on Thursday night.
Despite a seven-run lead, the Dodgers used their closer in the ninth inning. The Montreal native, pitching at home for the first time since winning last year’s NL Cy Young Award, drew attention when he started warming up and the crowd of 18,520, the Expos’ third-highest at home this season, gave him a standing ovation when he pitched. He retired three in a row after a leadoff walk.
“It’s real special to get a warm ovation like that,” Gagne said. “I wanted to get in, because it means a win for us, and a little bit for the fans. It might be the last chance, so I was trying to give a good show out there. It’s a big family here, and they’re really proud of their athletes, and they showed it tonight.”
The Expos, who joined the major leagues in 1969, are expected to move next year.
“This might be the last time and we didn’t see him for the last three games, and he hadn’t pitched in a while so it was time for them to give him some work on the mound,” said Expos roving coach Claude Raymond, a Quebec native who got a similar rousing ovation when he made his Jarry Park debut with Atlanta during Montreal’s inaugural season.
“I know way down deep he must have had some butterflies, even if it was 10-3,” he added. “He’s a heck of a pitcher and I’m sure he appreciated this tonight.”
Jeff Weaver (12-10) improved to 5-0 in his last six starts, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings and hitting a two-run single in a seven-run sixth. He is 9-2 in 16 starts since June 1.
Steve Finley had three hits and four RBIs for the Dodgers, who split the four-game series, the start of a season-high 13-game trip.
Beltre, who homered three times in the series, connected on a 3-2 pitch from Livan Hernandez (9-12) lead off the second inning and singled in the seventh.
“The last couple of weeks I’ve been swinging the bat good,” Beltre said. “I want to be swinging the bat like that the whole year That’s what I’m supposed to do. This is the most consistent I’ve been my whole year this year’s been the most productive, the most key hits. Every ballplayer wants it to be like that.”
Finley, who fell a triple short of hitting for the cycle, doubled in the second, hit a two-run single in the fifth and had a two-run homer off Luis Ayala in the sixth.
Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the fifth to tie it at 3 before leaving after giving up three straight walks with one out in the sixth, including bases-loaded walks to Alex Cora and Brent Mayne that put Los Angeles ahead 5-3.
Weaver hit a two-run single off Ayala to make it 7-3. Cesar Izturis’ run-scoring grounder drove in the Dodgers’ eighth run and Finley hit his 26th homer.
Expos right-hander Gary Majewski made his major league debut after Finley’s homer. Recalled from Triple-A Edmonton earlier in the day, Majewski struck out Milton Bradley—who drew a leadoff walk to begin the rally—to end the sixth.
Hernandez struck out six in 5 1-3 innings but walked five, allowing eight runs, six of them earned.
Plate umpire Kevin Kelley warned both benches immediately after the Dodgers’ Masao Kida hit Alex Gonzalez with a pitch in the eighth inning and left with a bruised left wrist. Dodgers reliever Duaner Sanchez was ejected from Wednesday’s game after he hit Tony Batista.
Gonzalez went for X-rays and Expos manager Frank Robinson wasn’t optimistic about the results.
“It’s too early to tell but it certainly didn’t hit him in a good spot,” Robinson said. “There’s not much meat there for protection. That’s pretty much bone and he feels pretty bad right now, so that’s not a good sign.”
Bradley, who stared at Kelley after taking a called third strike in the fourth, made a sensational leaping catch in the first.
With one out and Endy Chavez on first, Bradley made a running jump for a backhanded catch along the wall of Batista’s one-out drive to left. Chavez, who had already passed second base, had to scramble back to first, diving into the base just ahead of Bradley’s throw.
Actor Donald Sutherland took in the game from his once-customary box seat in the front row beside the visiting dugout. Sutherland, who used to be a virtual fixture at Olympic Stadium, shook hands and talked prior to the game with Dodgers hitting coach Tim Wallach. … Wallach, who starred for the Expos from 1980-92, was given a standing ovation when he was shown on the video board in the fourth. He took a brief curtain call, drawing a roar from the crowd. … Hernandez’s home run was the fifth of his career and his first with Montreal. He is the third Expos pitcher to homer this season, joining Zach Day and Jon Rauch, who connected off Houston’s Roger Clemens on Aug. 13 for his first major league hit.