Expos 7, Diamondbacks 5

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MONTREAL (AP)—Though they’re two of the worst teams in the majors, one major difference separates the Montreal Expos and Arizona Diamondbacks right now.

“We’re winning,” Montreal’s Tony Batista said.

Batista hit his 20th homer and drove in four runs, leading the Expos to a 7-5 victory Thursday night that completed a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks.

The Expos won their fifth straight game and sent the Diamondbacks to their seventh loss in a row. Montreal’s 47-66 record is the second-worst in the NL to Arizona, which has the worst record in the majors at 35-81.

“We’ve been playing pretty good and doing the little things at the right moment,” Batista said. “We’re executing and getting the basehits at the right moment to score runs.”

Montreal finished 6-0 against the Diamondbacks.

“It feels good,” said left fielder Brad Wilkerson, who had three of the Expos’ 13 hits. “It feels good to have somebody’s number like that.”

Arizona had never been swept in a season series of at least six games.

“That was a good battle,” Diamondbacks manager Al Pedrique said. “The guys played hard. We never quit. But again, the little things that we’re not getting done early in the game—when you get into the eighth, ninth innings— those are the things that really hurt.”

Batista hit a three-run shot in the first inning and added an RBI double in the second to put Montreal up 4-0. Nick Johnson followed with a two-run double and later added his third RBI.

Luis Ayala (4-7) allowed one hit in two scoreless innings of relief. Chad Cordero pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 13 opportunities.

“Batista had big hits today, again,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “Big hits in big RBI situations, but you can’t just put it on two people. Johnson had some big hits, but there were some other big hits to set things up. Wilkerson had a tremendous game and some other key hits in there, but everybody contributed to winning this ballgame.”

Expos starter Rocky Biddle was chased in the fourth after giving up five straight hits as Arizona closed to within 6-3.

Claudio Vargas gave up the Diamondbacks’ sixth straight hit, an RBI single by Alex Cintron, and Koyie Hill’s run-scoring grounder to make it 6-5.

Lance Cormier (1-4) left in the bottom half after loading the bases on Brad Wilkerson’s double, Juan Rivera’s single and a walk to Batista.

Johnson singled off left-hander Stephen Randolph to increase Montreal’s lead to two.

Biddle, who left in the third inning of his last start after he was struck on the right ankle by a liner back to the mound, was hit on his right heel by Quinton McCracken’s leadoff single in the fourth.

Assistant trainer Tim Abraham and pitching coach Randy St. Claire came out to the mound to check on Biddle, who stayed in without throwing a warmup pitch.

Luis Terrero doubled before Chad Tracy, Shea Hillenbrand and Danny Bautista each hit consecutive RBI singles to chase Biddle and cut the lead to 6-3. The Diamondbacks added two more runs after Vargas relieved.

Biddle said the close call on McCracken’s hit didn’t affect his pitching, and he was relieved that the ball missed his tender ankle.

“I would have went down like a little baby,” Biddle said.

Cormier allowed 10 hits and seven runs in three-plus innings.


The Diamondbacks have been outscored 50-21 during their skid. … Batista had six RBIs in the series and drove in runs in all three games. He leads the Expos with 74 RBIs.

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