<
>

Expos battle their way back to .500

9/19/2002

MIAMI (AP) -- Once again, the Montreal Expos took their time beating the Florida Marlins.

Vladimir Guerrero singled home the go-ahead run in the 11th
inning and the Expos defeated Florida 4-2 Wednesday night.

On Tuesday night, the Expos won 8-5 in 14 innings.

"I feel like we've only played three or four innings,'' said
Expos manager Frank Robinson. "Early in the year, these games got
away from us.''

The win pulled the Expos (76-76) to .500 for the first time this
late in the season since 1996, which was the last time the Expos
finished above that mark.

"It's nice to be there, but people only remember where you wind
up,'' said Robinson.

Pitcher Tomo Ohka shut out Florida on six hits for eight innings
and left with a 2-0 lead. He got Juan Encarnacion to ground out
with the bases loaded to end the eighth.

"It's tough luck for our starting pitcher not to get the win,'' said Robinson. "Ohka was dominating tonight.''

Joey Eischen (5-1) entered the game in the bottom of the ninth
and pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win.

Tim Drew pitched the 11th for his first career save.

"Losing in extra innings is getting old,'' said Florida manager
Jeff Torborg.

"It hurts to lose any time, but when you go extra, especially
when you come back. It's tough. Then the guy from another planet
hits a bullet to left-center field. Vladimir is some kind of
player,'' he said.

Derrek Lee's two-run single in the Marlins ninth tied it at 2.
The rally began when Kevin Millar singled off Dan Smith to start the Marlins ninth and stretch his hit streak to 24 games. Mike
Lowell followed with a double, stretching his hitting string to 16.

"We had a guy on second with nobody out, and not getting him through was tough,'' said Millar. "It seemed we had the momentum there.''

Jamey Carroll led off the Montreal 11th with a single against
Oswaldo Mairena (2-3). Jose Vidro walked and Guerrero singled.

"I was just trying to get on base,'' said Carroll. "Vlad's
been doing it all year. He's our go-to guy and the goal is to get
him up in those situations.''

One out later, Vidro scored on a wild pitch to make the score 4-2.

The hit streaks of Millar and Lowell seemed in jeopardy, but
came through on their opportunity in the ninth inning.

"Ohka did a great job all night. We got to Dan Smith and we didn't use our chance to put the game away,'' said Millar. "It was nice to keep the streaks alive and then tie the game, but we just couldn't get the third run across.''

Carl Pavano, traded from the Expos to Florida in July, gave up two runs in the first in the first inning.

Endy Chavez and Carroll led off the game with singles. Vidro had
an RBI grounder and Orlando Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly.

After that inning, Pavano struck out five and didn't allow another run until being lifted in the sixth for a pinch-hitter.

Game notes
Marlins C Charles Johnson threw out four runners trying to steal -- Brad Wilkerson twice and Guerrero twice. ... Guerrero needs three home runs and four stolen bases to become a member of the 40-40 club. ... Pavano made his first career start against his former team.