Padres 11, Expos 3

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MONTREAL (AP)—David Wells thinks the San Diego Padres have what it takes to stick around in the NL playoff race.

Wells won his seventh consecutive road decision and helped himself with a single for his first career RBI, leading San Diego to an 11-3 victory over the Montreal Expos on Sunday.

Ryan Klesko and Khalil Greene each hit two-run homers for the Padres, who began the day tied with San Francisco for second in the NL West—five games behind Los Angeles. They’re also tied with Chicago for the lead in the NL wild-card race.

“It’s a big boost for a pitching staff when you get some run support, and that’s how you gel,” said Wells, a member of nine playoff teams—including two World Series champions. “When you score runs and the pitching does well, it gives the team a lot of hope.”

San Diego hasn’t been involved in a playoff race since 1998, when it won its second NL pennant before being swept by Wells’ Yankees.

“It’s good to come back after losing the first game and pick up two and kind of keep ground where we’re at,” Greene said. “I don’t like to look ahead too often and get ahead of ourselves. I just worry about what we do. As long as we can beat the teams we need to beat, then I think we’ll be fine.”

Wells (9-7) allowed eight hits and three runs in seven innings, improving to 3-0 in his last four starts overall. He struck out two and walked none, the 12th time in 24 starts this season he hasn’t allowed a base-on-balls.

“When you get a lead—and we got it from the beginning—you just want to go out there and throw strikes even more so than in a 0-0 ballgame,” Wells said.

His two-out single in the fourth scored Klesko and put San Diego up 4-0.

“That’s something where I’m just like everyone else,” Wells said of his first RBI in his 100th career at-bat. “I want to go out there and put the bat on the ball and try to make something happen. I got a pitch that I got lucky with. It was down and in and the bat just hit the ball.”

Klesko put the Padres up 3-0 in the first with his sixth homer following Phil Nevin’s two-out RBI single off Sun-Woo Kim (3-5).

Greene’s 11th homer in the fifth off left-hander Joey Eischen capped a four-run outburst which chased Kim earlier in the inning and put San Diego up 8-1.

The Padres added three more in the eighth on Terrence Long’s pinch-hit RBI double off Gary Majewski and shortstop Maicer Izturis’ throwing error, which allowed two runs to score.

Montreal, which has made the second-fewest errors in the NL, made five in the game—one short of the franchise record.

“It was one of those games where we didn’t play well and we got beat,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said.

Montreal’s Brad Wilkerson was hit in the right knee by a pitch from Steve Watkins with two outs in the ninth. He fell to the ground in pain and was helped off the field by Robinson and assistant trainer Tim Abraham.

“It hit pretty good,” said Wilkerson, before going to hospital to have precautionary X-rays.

He will be re-evaluated Monday.

“I hope he’s not down for very long, but who knows?” Robinson said.

Kim fell to 0-5 in 10 starts since winning his first two starts of the season. He allowed nine hits and seven runs in four-plus innings.

Montreal was effectively short two players on the bench. Rookie outfielder Ryan Church was sick with the flu and shortstop Alex Gonzalez missed his third straight start because of a bruised right wrist after he was hit by a pitch Thursday.

Eischen and right-hander T.J. Tucker, who replaced Eischen in the sixth, each batted when their turns came up in the order, though neither remained in the game to pitch the following inning.

Eischen hit a leadoff single in the fifth and, one out later, scored Montreal’s second run on Endy Chavez’s RBI double. Tucker struck out in the seventh.

Wells also reached on an error in the sixth. The big left-hander trotted toward first after hitting a grounder to second baseman Henry Mateo. With plenty of time to spare, Mateo made a hard throw in the dirt which first baseman Wilkerson couldn’t handle and Wells loped safely to first before Wilkerson could retrieve the ball.

“It was just a bad throw,” Mateo said.

Notes

Wells has issued only 17 walks in 152 innings. … Eischen has two singles—the first as a pinch hitter—and a sacrifice in three plate appearances this season. … A scoring change following the game resulted in Expos third baseman Tony Batista being charged with Montreal’s fifth error. Brian Giles’ steal of third base in the fifth was changed to caught stealing, and an error on Batista when the ball came out of his glove after he took catcher Brian Schneider’s throw. … Schneider, who has yet to commit an error and just three passed balls in 109 games, has a 50 percent success rate against attempted base stealers. He has thrown out 31 of 62. … Montreal has made six errors in a game four times.

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