Vladimir Guerrero might be running out of options.
Of course, his baseball future looks much brighter than theirs. In what might have been their final game in Montreal, the Expos
beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 Sunday after a late delay caused by
fans upset that a check-swing call went against Guerrero. Needing one home run to become baseball's fourth player with 40
homers and 40 stolen bases in the same season, Guerrero was called
out by first-base umpire Alfonso Marquez in the eighth inning. "I felt like, 'It's over,''' Guerrero said through an
interpreter. "I tried as hard as I could and, God willing, I'll be
able to try it again next time.'' The crowd of 25,178 showered the outfield with debris, and Reds
manager Bob Boone brought his players into the dugout. The game was
held up for six minutes, though Boone wasn't particularly upset
about the fans' reaction. "I didn't want him to hit it -- I'd have liked to throw him
another pitch, put it that way,'' Boone said. The Expos are owned by baseball's 29 other franchises and are
expected to be relocated, possibly for the 2003 season. The
final-day crowd was the third-largest this year at Olympic Stadium. "When the fans come out, it's just an amazing feeling in this
ballpark,'' Expos first baseman Brad Wilkerson said. More often than not, though, they didn't. The Expos drew 812,545
for the season. The final crowd raised the team's average
attendance to 10,031. "There are so many proposals out there to go somewhere, go
somewhere else or come back here, you never know,'' Wilkerson said.
"I just hope they make a decision where we can call home and have
a little stability because there's not much stability in this
game.'' Montreal won its fourth straight and 11 of 14 to finish second
in the NL East at 83-79, the team's best record since 1996. Batting leadoff for the first time in his career, Guerrero
failed to homer for the fifth straight game. Guerrero doubled off the base of the wall in right-center field
in the fifth before striking out in his final two at-bats. Guerrero drew loud ovations all afternoon. He saw two pitches in
each of his first three appearances, lining out in the first and
hit a fly ball in the third. After doubling in the fifth, Guerrero fouled off two pitches
from reliever Jared Fernandez in the sixth before taking a called third strike as home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom was booed. Tim Drew pitched five hitless innings before tiring and Matt
Cepicky hit a three-run double to lead the Expos. Jose Vidro hit an RBI double off Jimmy Haynes (15-10) as the
Expos scored twice in the fourth. Endy Chavez made it 3-0 with a run-scoring triple in the fifth
and Cepicky drove a ball off the wall in right-center later in the
inning to clear the bases and put Montreal up by six. Drew (1-0) retired 16 of the first 17 batters. He held the Reds
hitless until pinch-hitter Ruben Mateo blooped a single with one
out in the sixth. "You see the scoreboard in the fifth, you get through with that
and you know you have a no-hitter going,'' Drew said. "You don't
get caught up in it, though.'' Reggie Taylor singled and, one out later, Todd Walker hit a
run-scoring single off shortstop Orlando Cabrera's glove to make it
6-1. Adam Dunn hit an RBI double to chase Drew, who left to a
standing ovation. Walker went 1-for-4 to fall short of a .300 season. He singled
in his third at-bat in the sixth to raise his average to .2995
before striking out to end the eighth. Aaron Boone pinch-hit with two out in the seventh to become the
first Reds player to appear in 162 games since Dave Parker in 1986.
Boone lined out. "I was disappointed that we lost the three games but we had two
regulars in the lineup today,'' Bob Boone said. "We just have a
lot of guys dinged up. I don't have too many thoughts on the
series. It wasn't a good one for us.''
Walker had 183 hits in 612 at-bats, finishing the season
with a .2990 batting average. ... Hitting coach Jim Lefebvre is the
only member of the Reds' coaching staff who won't return in 2003.
Coaches Jose Cardenal, Don Gullett, Tom Hume, Ray Knight, Tim Foli
and Mark Berry signed contracts Sunday to return next season. ...
Drew, St. Louis outfielder J.D. Drew's younger brother, had two
saves in six relief appearances since he was recalled from Triple-A
Ottawa on Sept. 2. He was acquired from Cleveland along with
Bartolo Colon on June 27.