Reds sell tickets but can't deliver

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The two Expos players with cheering sections
did a number on the home team.

Brad Wilkerson hit a solo homer and a tiebreaking, two-run shot
in the seventh inning Friday night, rallying the Montreal Expos to
a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds had their biggest walk-up crowd since they started
keeping track of the statistic in 1987. They sold 10,755 tickets
when the gates opened on Friday.

The crowd of 32,701 watched the NL Central leaders get beat by a
hometown prep star and a boyhood visitor.

Cincinnati native Zach Day (4-6) allowed only four hits in six
innings, including Adam Dunn's two-run homer.

Day, the city's top high school player in 1995, had a cheering
section behind the visitors' dugout and a larger one in the
outfield stands. He estimated that more than 100 relatives and
friends bought tickets to his first major league appearance in his

"You always dream of playing for the Reds or, if you can't,
playing against them," said Day, 25. "It's a dream that not a lot
of people get to fulfill. It was a long time coming."

Wilkerson grew up in Kentucky and attended Reds games as a
youth. He had several dozen fans cheering his first multihomer game
this season.

"It's always fun to come back to Cincinnati," Wilkerson said.

The rest of the crowd didn't have much to cheer except for
Dunn's broken-bat homer.

"I was hoping we would have a happy ending for them," manager
Dave Miley said.

Not quite.

Cincinnati got runners on first and third with two outs in the
ninth against Rocky Biddle, but pinch-hitter Barry Larkin took a
called third strike to end it. Larkin started toward first,
thinking the pitch was outside, before umpire Dale Scott called him

Ken Griffey Jr. was 1-for-2 with a single and two walks, leaving
him at 495 career homers. Griffey has closed in on the 500-homer
mark by hitting six in his last 12 games.

Sean Casey was 0-for-4, dropping the NL's top average eight
points to .383.

Wilkerson had three hits off Jose Acevedo (3-4), who couldn't
halt the leadoff hitter's tear. Wilkerson has three doubles and
five homers in his last seven games.

"It's weird," Wilkerson said. "I'm not swinging at too many
bad pitches. I don't know if that's from being relaxed. That's what
I've got to do."

The other popular Expo had only one bad moment. Day walked
Griffey on four pitches to open the Reds' second, then gave up
Dunn's 15th homer.

Dunn has only four hits in his last 40 at-bats, all of them
homers. He also homered off Day in Montreal last Saturday, snapping
an 0-for-23 slump and setting up a 4-1 Cincinnati win.

"I was more upset with the walk to Griffey," Day said. "When
a guy breaks his bat and hits a home run, that's great for him."

Day recovered from the one shaky inning. The right-hander walked
three and struck out five overall.

"He's a great young pitcher, and Montreal is lucky to have him
over there," Casey said.

The Expos set a club record by stranding 17 runners -- their most
in a nine-inning game -- during an 8-4 victory in Atlanta on
Wednesday. They were much more efficient this time, leaving only
five on base.

The four runs amounted to a breakthrough for Day, who usually
gets little help. Montreal has scored only 21 runs in his 11 starts
and been shut out three times.

Luis Ayala and Chad Cordero each pitched a scoreless inning
before Biddle worked the ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances.

Jose Vidro led off the fourth with a double and scored on
Orlando Cabrera's sacrifice fly. Wilkerson's solo homer tied it at
2 in the fifth.

Terrmel Sledge bunted for a single to open the seventh -- he
dived headfirst past Casey to avoid the tag and reach the bag.
Wilkerson hit his ninth homer with two outs.

Game notes
The Expos activated left-hander Rigo Beltran from the
15-day disabled list and outrighted him to Triple-A Edmonton.
Beltran strained a muscle in his side while warming up and went on
the DL on May 4. ... The Reds placed RHP Aaron Harang on the 15-day
DL with a sore pitching elbow and activated 3B Brandon Larson off
the DL. Larson got hit on the right forearm in his first plate
appearance but stayed in the game. ... Larkin did not start due to
sore abdominal muscles. OF Austin Kearns also got another day off
because of a sore on his thumb.