Phillies 2, Expos 1

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MONTREAL (AP)—Larry Bowa had nothing bad to say about Montreal after what was likely the Philadelphia Phillies’ last game there. He did offer a bright side to the Expos’ expected move, though.

“It would be a lot easier for travel not to go through customs,” the Phillies manager said.

Bobby Abreu hit a two-run double to back a solid outing by Cory Lidle in Philadelphia’s 2-1 victory over Montreal on Sunday.

A promotion helped draw a crowd of 12,382 as the first 10,000 fans to arrive at Olympic Stadium were given an Expos winter knit cap. The Expos, expected to be relocated for 2005, begin a three-game series against Florida on Monday in what will likely be the final major league games in Montreal.

“This was a good baseball town,” Bowa said. “I don’t know what happened. Until it happens, I think Olympic Stadium will be used next year.”

Lidle (11-12), who improved to 4-0 in his last six starts, allowed four hits — including Brian Schneider’s RBI single in the fifth—in 7 1-3 innings. He left after allowing Maicer Izturis’ one-out single in the eighth.

“I was getting ahead of hitters, throwing strikes with my off-speed pitches and forcing them to make contact,” Lidle said.

Rheal Cormier got pinch-hitter Valentino Pascucci to ground to first to begin an inning-ending double play.

Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in as many days, and his 20th this season.

Placido Polanco went 3-for-4 with a walk as Philadelphia won its sixth in seven games. The Phillies finished 44-37 on the road—their first winning record away from home since the pennant-winning team of 1993 went 45-36.

Livan Hernandez (11-15) allowed 10 hits and two runs in eight innings, struck out nine and walked three. He lashed out at a reporter who he felt was trying to get him to talk about a lack of run support.

“I pitched good and I didn’t win the game,” Hernandez said toward the end of a profanity-laced response. “That happens in baseball. I lost 2-1 and that’s it. I’m not thinking nothing about my teammates, nothing else. First of all, they’re my teammates. And I’ve got a lot of friends here, so I don’t say anything bad to anybody.

“Nothing happened in the game. I made a mistake and I lost the game. That’s the point.”

Chase Utley singled to lead off the fifth and Polanco bunted for a single, with both runners advancing after Hernandez fielded the ball and flipped the ball from his glove over first baseman Brad Wilkerson for an error.

“It was a good bunt,” Wilkerson said. “It was just a good play by them and good hustle.”

Abreu hit his 42nd double to drive in both runners, raising his team-leading RBI total to 103.

“That guy over there is as good as anybody,” Bowa said about Hernandez. “We got two runs and we made it hold up.”

Lidle was even sharper than Hernandez to begin the game. He held Montreal to one hit—Terrmel Sledge’s leadoff single in the second—while facing the minimum through four before yielding a run in the bottom half.

Sledge hit his second straight leadoff single and advanced on Juan Rivera’s grounder to short before scoring on Schneider’s RBI single.

Notes

Lidle is 4-2 in nine starts with the Phillies since he was acquired from Cincinnati on Aug. 9. … Schneider’s run-scoring single gave him a career-high 47 RBIs. He had 46 last season. … The Expos are 12-22 when Hernandez starts.

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