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Downs first Expo leftie to win in 3 years

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Montreal Expos pitcher Scott Downs
got some help in the field from Jose Castillo -- the Pittsburgh
Pirates' second baseman.

Downs pitched seven sharp innings to give Montreal its first win
by a left-handed starter in three years, and the Expos took
advantage of two dubious decisions by Castillo to beat Pittsburgh
2-1 Sunday in their final game this season in Puerto Rico.

Montreal took three of four from Pittsburgh and left Hiram
Bithorn Stadium with a 7-14 record after going 13-9 in San Juan
last year.

"It's nice to finish up like this," Expos manager Frank
Robinson said. "Three out of four to finish it up, now we have to
think the same way in the next series."

The Expos (31-56) head into the All-Star break tied with Arizona
and Kansas City for the fewest wins in baseball.

Downs (1-3) allowed one unearned run on five hits and two walks
while striking out five. He became the first Montreal lefty starter
to get a win since Matt Blank on June 21, 2001, against the New
York Mets.

Luis Ayala worked a perfect eighth and Chad Cordero pitched the
ninth for his seventh save.

"The key was keeping the ball down, and we made some good
defensive plays behind me," Downs said.

Castillo was involved in both of Montreal's runs off Josh Fogg.

Terrmel Sledge walked to open the fifth and advanced to third on
Brian Schneider's single. Jamey Carroll then hit a grounder that
should have turned a double play, but Castillo struggled with the
relay to first and only got the force at second, allowing Sledge to
score.

A bad decision by Castillo in the sixth led to Montreal's second
run.

Tony Batista doubled to left, Nick Johnson walked and Orlando
Cabrera hit into a fielder's choice that moved Batista to third.
Sledge then hit a grounder to Castillo that should have turned
another easy double play, but Castillo hesitated thinking about
throwing home, got only one out at second, and Batista scored.

"It's part of the growing pains," Pirates manager Lloyd
McClendon said. "You gotta take the good with the bad sometimes."

Fogg (6-7) pitched six innings, allowed two runs, four hits,
walked three and struck out one.

Pittsburgh scored in the second when J.J. Davis doubled to right
and left the game with a right-hip flexor strain. Castillo singled
and Jason Kendall walked to load the bases, and Rob Mackowiak,
pinch-running for Davis, scored when Montreal second baseman
Carroll lost a throw from catcher Schneider trying to pick off
Castillo.

"We gave them one, we take away two. It's give and take, they
gave us one more," Robinson said. "That's not the way I drew it
up on the board in spring training, but you just take advantage of
some of those breaks."

Game notes
Davis strained his right-hip flexor while running to second
on a double to right field. He was replaced by Mackowiak, who
dropped an easy flyball in the fourth. ... Mackowiack's error was
the first committed by the Pirates's defense after a season-high 95
straight innings without an error. ... Pittsburgh 1B Craig Wilson
was hit by a pitch in the first, the major league-leading 18th time
he has been plunked this season, and seventh time in the last nine
games. The Pirates lead the majors with 55 batters hit by pitches.
... Montreal 3B Tony Batista went 1-for-3 and extended his hitting
streak to 10 games. ... Attendance was 8,101.