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Expos swept for third time since May 28

6/19/2003

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Just when the Montreal Expos' road trip
seemingly couldn't get any longer, it did. On the same night, the
Pittsburgh Pirates finally felt like they had a home-field
advantage.

Pinch-hitter Jason Kendall's two-run double in the ninth inning
carried the Pirates past the Expos 4-3 for a doubleheader sweep
Wednesday night -- the third time Montreal has been swept since May
28.

The Pirates' first doubleheader sweep since Sept. 8, 2000,
against the Reds -- their last twinbill in Three Rivers Stadium --
ran their winning streak to four games and the Expos' losing streak
to a season-high six.

The Pirates won the first game 7-3 behind homers by Aramis
Ramirez, Kenny Lofton and Reggie Sanders and Jeff D'Amico's
effective pitching over six innings.

Pittsburgh went into the bottom of the ninth trailing 3-2
following Jose Macias' solo homer in the top of the inning, but
manager Lloyd McClendon still had a feeling the Pirates would find
a way to win.

"I told our guys we've played a lot of good baseball and we
deserve to celebrate," he said. "Let's go up there and put some
good at-bats together, and that's exactly what they did."

The Expos have been swept in all three makeup doubleheaders
during a 25-day, 22-game trip that ends Thursday. The first two
sweeps came May 28 at Florida and June 1 at Philadelphia. They are
7-14 since last playing in Montreal on May 25.

"Baseball delivers some tough blows sometimes, but we've got to
keep going," the Expos' Michael Barrett said. "We're playing a
little bit out of character ... and when you do that, everybody
tends to put more pressure on themselves."

By winning the first two games of the three-game series, the
Pirates are assured of winning a home series for the first time
this season. They were 0-9-1 in their first 10 series at PNC Park,
where they are 11-21.

"I think it made us mad," McClendon said. "It's hard to
believe you'd go this late into the season without winning a home
series."

Macias' one-out, go-ahead drive came off Salomon Torres (4-1),
who had just entered as the Pirates' fourth pitcher.

But Expos closer Rocky Biddle (3-2) couldn't hold the lead as
Randall Simon and Matt Stairs singled and pinch-hitter Jeff
Reboulet loaded the bases with a surprise bunt single down the
third-base line.

"That was a perfect bunt," said Barrett, the Expos' catcher.
"It was a well-executed bunt."

Kendall, hitless in two previous at-bats as a pinch-hitter this
season, then lined a double into the left-center gap that scored
Simon and Stairs without a throw.

"Obviously, I don't do a lot of pinch-hitting, but I talk to a
lot of guys who do," Kendall said. "They said the key is to be
patient and wait for the first hittable fastball. He got a pitch
up, and I got the good part of the bat on it."

The Expos took a 2-1 lead on RBI singles by Ron Calloway and
Edwards Guzman in a two-run fourth. It was Montreal's first
multi-run inning in 57 innings, or since the Expos scored three
times in the ninth in a 7-3 win over Seattle on June 10.

"We're just flailing away up there," Expos manager Frank
Robinson said.

The Pirates tied it at 2 in the sixth against Expos starter
Claudio Vargas on Brian Giles' one-out triple and Ramirez's
run-scoring single. They had taken a 1-0 lead in the second on
Simon's double and Craig Wilson's RBI single.

Vargas allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings, the first time in his
last four starts he has yielded more than one earned run.

Pirates starter Jeff Suppan gave up seven hits, walked one and
struck out three but didn't figure in the decision. He has lost six
of his last seven decisions.

In the opener, the Pirates bunched five singles in a span of six
batters against Livan Hernandez (6-5) in the fourth.

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.

The Expos put runners on first and second with one out in the
ninth against 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.

Of Hernandez's five losses, three have been in makeup twinbills.
He also lost the first game of the rain-forced doubleheaders at
Florida and Philadelphia.

Hernandez 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.

Pittsburgh chased Hernandez in the fifth 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
Sauerbeck pitched in both games and has appeared in five
straight games. ... The Pirates began the season by winning four
straight, but hadn't won more than three straight since then. ...
Lofton returned after sitting out two games with a sore foot. ...
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.