Series: Game 1 of 3

Pittsburgh leads 1-0 (as of 6/18)

Game 1: Tuesday, June 17
Game 1: Wednesday, June 18
Game 2: Wednesday, June 18
Game 3: Thursday, June 19

Expos 3

(39-31, 16-20 away)

Pirates 7

(28-39, 10-21 home)

    5:05 PM ET, June 18, 2003

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

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    MON 010001010 3 8 0
    PIT 10032100 - 7 13 1

    W: J. D'Amico (5-7)

    L: L. Hernandez (6-5)

    S: M. Williams (19)

    D'Amico ends three-game losing streak

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Montreal Expos can't wait to get home. For a change, the Pittsburgh Pirates played like they enjoyed being at home.

    Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton and Reggie Sanders homered and the Pirates finally reached the double-digit mark in home wins, beating the Expos 7-3 in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday night.

    The Pirates bunched five singles in a span of six batters during a decisive three-run fourth inning against Livan Hernandez (6-5) to win their third in a row. Montreal matched its longest losing streak this season by losing its fifth straight.

    Pittsburgh needed 31 games to do so, but finally became the last NL team to reach the 10-win mark in home victories. The Pirates are 10-21 at PNC Park. Only the Tigers, who went into Wednesday night's game against Cleveland with a 6-27 home mark, have fewer home victories in the majors.

    Jeff D'Amico (5-7) ended his three-game losing streak, limiting the Expos to six hits and two runs in six innings. He is 3-0 against Montreal the last two seasons, winning twice with the Mets last season. "I felt like I had plenty left," said D'Amico, who wanted to stay in the game. "I felt fine."

    Manager Lloyd McClendon went to his bullpen after D'Amico began getting some of his pitches up in the sixth inning.

    "I saw him elevate it a bit. I decided I'd seen enough," McClendon said. "He did a good job. He was very effective with the fastball; he usually sets up his changeup and curveball with his fastball, but he did just the opposite."

    The Expos put runners on first and second with one out in the ninth against Pirates reliever Scott Sauerbeck, but Mike Williams came on to get the final two outs for his 19th save in 22 opportunities. Joe Beimel allowed one run in pitching the seventh and eighth.

    McClendon was worried the Pirates might lose some of their edge offensively during a two-day layoff that came after they scored 21 runs in consecutive weekend wins against Tampa Bay. The Expos and Pirates were rained out Tuesday night.

    "I didn't want the two days off, but we showed no ill effects of it," McClendon said.

    Losing in a doubleheader is nothing new to the Expos, who have five straight losses in makeup doubleheaders during an arduous 25-day, 22-game journey from Montreal that ends Thursday in Pittsburgh. They are 7-13 during the extended road swing, which included six games in Puerto Rico.

    "We're just up there flailing away," manager Frank Robinson said of the Expos, who have scored only 12 runs during their current losing streak. "It looks like we have no idea what we're doing up there."

    Of Hernandez's five losses, three have been in makeup twinbills. He also lost the first game of rain-forced doubleheaders May 28 at Florida and June 1 at Philadelphia, and the Expos went on to lose the second game both times.

    Hernandez (6-5) gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings, the shortest of his 14 starts this season. He struck out seven, but was hurt constantly by leaving breaking pitches over the plate.

    "My slider and changeup weren't working too much," Hernandez said. "I needed to throw a lot of curve balls -- my slider wasn't doing anything -- and I don't want to throw so many curve balls."

    After Lofton led off the Pirates' first with his eighth homer and Montreal's Wil Cordero hit his sixth an inning later, the Pirates took a 4-1 lead in the fourth. Randall Simon, Matt Stairs had consecutive one-out RBI singles after Jason Kendall and Brian Giles singled to start the inning.

    Pittsburgh chased Hernandez an inning later on Ramirez's two-run homer, a line drive that caught the left-field foul pole just as it was about to curve foul. The homer came on a hanging breaking ball. Sanders hit his ninth homer in the sixth, a pinch-hit shot off reliever Joey Eischen.

    Game notes

    The Pirates began the season by winning four straight, but haven't won more than three straight since then. ... Hernandez had won his last two starts. ... Lofton returned after sitting out two games with a sore foot. ... Cordero was 1-for-20 before getting hits his first two times up. ... The Pirates were 1-9 in June before winning three straight. ... D'Amico won a June start for the first time since June 28, 1997, with Milwaukee. He had been 0-6 with a 9.07 ERA in nine June starts since then.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press