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Downs pitches first career shutout

CHICAGO (AP) -- Scott Downs delivered a performance he remember
for a long time.

Downs outpitched Greg Maddux with a five-hit shutout -- the first
of his career -- and the Montreal Expos beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 on
Wednesday night.

"It's still overwhelming, but to do it in this ballpark is very
sweet," Downs said. "I couldn't have drawn it up any better. To
face a guy like that here -- I grew up watching him -- I knew I had
to battle.

"This is going to be one of my special moments."

Terrmel Sledge homered for the Expos, who won twice in the
three-games series and dropped the Cubs a half-game behind Houston
and San Francisco in the NL wild-card race. Chicago has lost six of
nine and opens a four-game series against Florida on Friday.

"We all know what is at stake, everybody in the whole town, on
the team, we know what is at stake," Cubs manager Dusty Baker
said. "You are frustrated big-time, especially when you get shut
out again like this, you don't have a chance to win. You certainly
have to regroup after this off day and we certainly have to play
better against Florida than we did against Montreal."

Downs (3-5) struck out four and walked one in his first complete
game. He came up through the Chicago organization and pitched
briefly for the Cubs in 2000 before being traded to Montreal in
2000 for Rondell White.

Downs retired 15 straight after giving up a single to Moises
Alou in the second. He walked Derrek Lee in the seventh, but got
Nomar Garciaparra to hit into his second double-play of the night
to end the inning.

"He's keeping hitters off-balance. He just looks like he's
comfortable now and confident he can get major league hitters
out," Expos manager Frank Robinson said.

Maddux (13-9) allowed five runs -- two earned -- and five hits in
7 2-3 innings. He struck out seven and allowed an intentional walk,
remaining at 302 career victories.

Maddux credited Downs with a strong performance.

"The guy threw a shutout, he threw a great game," Maddux said.
"He located his fastball well and changed speeds well. It was good
night to pitch and we got outpitched."

The Expos took advantage of a fielding blunder by Sammy Sosa in
the third inning and bad baserunning by Alou in the second.

Maicer Izturis led off the third with a double over Sosa, who
broke the wrong way on the ball. Sosa was back in right field after
missing two games with bursitis in his right hip. Izturis moved to
third on Downs' sacrifice and scored on Brad Wilkerson's sacrifice
fly.

In the second inning with one out, Alou got doubled off second
base by Juan Rivera on Aramis Ramirez's flyout to right. It was the
fourth time Alou has been doubled off on a flyball since Aug. 8.

"This late in the season, it seems like we keep on making the
same mistakes and that's what is frustrating, is to make the same
mistakes," Baker said.

The Expos padded their lead in the eighth with five runs and two
more Cubs errors. Jamey Carroll led off with a single, Izturis
reached safely on a bunt-single. Downs moved the runners over with
a bunt and Maddux intentionally walked Wilkerson.

Chavez followed with a grounder to first baseman Derrek Lee, who
couldn't handle it -- allowing Carroll to score, and Izturis came
around from second to also score. Catcher Paul Bako overthrew
second base, allowing Wilkerson to score. After Rivera's groundout,
Mike Remlinger relieved Maddux. With two outs, Sledge homered to
right, giving the Expos a 6-0 lead.

Maddux was impressive, but didn't have any luck on his side. He
retired 12 in a row after giving up a sacrifice fly to Wilkerson in
the third. Montreal didn't their next hit until Brendan Harris
singled with two outs in the seventh.

Game notes
Expos RHP Rocky Biddle had an MRI on his right shoulder
after complaining of a burning sensation Monday. The results of the
MRI were inconclusive and Biddle will remain out as he undergoes
more tests. ... Cubs RHP Matt Clement left in the third inning of
his start Tuesday because of muscle stiffness and discomfort in his
back and neck. Chicago team doctors didn't find anything seriously
wrong with Clement on Wednesday. Baker is uncertain whether Clement
will make his next start.