<
>

Schneider's three-run homer powers Expos to win

8/14/2003

MONTREAL (AP) -- Brian Schneider and Javier Vazquez helped light
up Olympic Stadium after the Montreal Expos endured one of their
darkest moments.

After an electrical failure briefly plunged the ballpark into
complete darkness, Schneider and Vazquez provided the power for
Montreal in a 6-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.

Schneider hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning and Vazquez
had an RBI triple and a single after a delay of 1 hour, 16 minutes.

The power went out in the second inning while Vazquez (10-8) was
getting ready to deliver a 3-2 pitch to Jay Payton.

"My initial reaction was obviously, 'Get out of the way!"
said Schneider, who was set up to catch the pitch that never came.

"Both (home plate umpire Ron Kulpa) and I bolted," Schneider
said. "Just a natural reaction. (Payton) said something. I heard
something come out of his mouth -- not exactly sure what it was. He
got out of the way, too. I knew he wasn't going to throw it because
we weren't to that point. Let's just be happy that the ball wasn't
in play."

Preston Wilson hit a leadoff homer off Vazquez in the second to
put the Rockies up 1-0.

In the brief time that the players and the field disappeared
into utter blackness, gasps from the crowd of 6,724 on hand for the
game turned to whoops.

"I said, 'Here we go again,' because earlier in the season we
had a power outage and I was warming up in the pen, it was against
me, too," Vazquez said. "I've had some bad luck this year with
rain delays and the lights."

Emergency lighting came on quickly and crew chief Bruce
Froemming briefly met with the three other umpires behind the
pitcher's mound as both teams left the field.

"We sat in the clubhouse, basically," Payton said of the
delay. "There were some lights on here."

With Colorado leading 4-3 after Todd Helton hit his 26th homer,
a two-run shot in the fifth, Montreal came back for the second time
in the game in the sixth.

Left fielder Jay Payton dropped Calloway's leadoff liner for an
error and Edwards Guzman singled. After fouling off a bunt attempt,
Schneider hit his first homer since June 6 off Denny Stark (1-1) to
put the Expos up 6-4.

"He threw me a slider on the first pitch and I was determined
to get it down for sure, and I saw the bunt being called off in
between pitches," said Schneider, who bunted into a double play
Tuesday. "I was hoping that they thought I was bunting and they'd
throw me a fastball, and it worked."

The Rockies drew to within one in the seventh on Ronnie
Belliard's RBI single off T.J. Tucker, one of four Montreal
relievers to work the inning after Vazquez allowed Charles
Johnson's leadoff double.

Vazquez gave up five runs -- three earned -- and six hits in
six-plus innings, becoming the second Montreal pitcher to reach
double digits in wins after Livan Hernandez.

"Javy pitched well, especially after coming off that delay,"
Schneider said. "It's not very easy to do that. He held them down
and gave us a chance to win."

Joey Eischen, Tucker, Eric Knott and Hector Almonte followed.

Luis Ayala pitched the ninth for his third save, his first since
June 10.

The Expos, who improved to 28-17 in Montreal this season, won
for just the third time in nine games, avoiding falling below .500
for the first time this season for the third time in five days.

Colorado dropped its NL-worst road record to 20-43.

"When you don't execute at the major league level, you don't
win close games," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

Wilson hit his 30th homer and drove in his 114th run, and Larry
Walker doubled off the wall in left center on Vazquez's first two
pitches of the second before the power went out.

When the game resumed at 8:47 p.m., Payton singled on Vazquez's
first pitch following the lengthy delay, advancing Walker to third.

One out later, Johnson and Stark drew back-to-back walks,
forcing in the Rockies' second run.

Vazquez hit a leadoff single in the third and scored on Jose
Vidro's RBI double to draw Montreal to within 2-1.

Orlando Cabrera singled to begin the fourth and scored on Ron
Calloway's tying double. Two outs later, Vazquez hit a drive over
Wilson for a one-hop triple off the center-field wall putting the
Expos up 3-2.

Stark allowed eight hits and six runs -- five earned -- in six
innings.

Game notes
During the delay the Expos announced that ticket stubs to
the game could be exchanged for any other August home game. ...
Johnson started in place of C Bobby Estalella, who was a late
scratch because of a sore right elbow. ... Vidro's RBI was his
first since July 18.