CHICAGO (AP) -- Take away August, and Javier Vazquez is having a
pretty good season.
Vazquez matched a season high with 10 strikeouts and helped
himself with an RBI single Tuesday night, snapping a seven-game
losing streak and leading the Montreal Expos to a 6-2 victory over
the Chicago Cubs.
"It was a good pick-me-up for the ballclub and for him,'' Expos
manager Frank Robinson said. "It was very comfortable out there.
Before, he didn't seem sure of himself.''
Brad Wilkerson tied a Montreal rookie record with his 19th home
run, and Jose Vidro and Fernando Tatis added RBI singles.
Andre Dawson (1977) and Larry Walker (1990) also hit 19 homers
in their rookie seasons with Montreal.
"It's an honor to be mentioned with those two guys,'' Wilkerson
Mark Bellhorn hit a solo home run, but the Cubs offense
sputtered again as they lost for the fourth time in five games.
Chicago managed only two hits over the last five innings.
Carlos Zambrano (3-7) got knocked around, giving up five runs
and seven hits. He needed 112 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings.
"I don't know what happened today with my pitches,'' Zambrano
said. "It was a new experience for me. I have to be more in
control next time.''
Vazquez (9-13) began the month of August with an 8-6 record. But
he lost to the Astros on Aug. 4, and the month got worse from
there. He lost seven straight starts, giving up three or more
earned runs in all but one of them.
"I don't see this season as a bad season, just a bad month
where I was pitching well but didn't get any breaks,'' he said.
"Apart from the last month, I've done a good job.''
He was certainly good enough against the Cubs, scattering two
runs and six hits over seven innings.
After giving up an RBI double to Fred McGriff in the third, he
retired nine of his next 10 batters. He got in a little trouble in
the seventh, giving up a single to Todd Hundley and walking Hee
But Vazquez retired Bobby Hill on a line drive and struck out
Bellhorn and Sammy Sosa.
Sosa went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts. He has six hits in his
last 34 at-bats.
"Vazquez had a very good effort, it was even all the way,''
Robinson said. "He was pitching to keep them from scoring.''
The Expos battered Zambrano with a three-run fifth. Vazquez
started it, drawing a leadoff walk. He took second on a sacrifice
and scored on Vidro's single.
Vidro advanced to third on Vladimir Guerrero's single, scoring
when Hundley couldn't hold a pitch in the dirt. Guerrero got all
the way to third on the passed ball.
Matt Cepicky walked, and Tatis singled to make it 5-2.
"I'm really mad about the walks in the fifth inning,'' Zambrano
said. "You can't make a mistake on this level, because that's a
chance for the other team.''
Vazquez's victory was the 50th of his career. ... The game
was delayed about three minutes in the fifth inning when Cubs
reliever Pat Mahomes had to go in and take off a white shirt
underneath his blue jersey. ... Cubs SS Alex Gonzalez was charged
with a two-base error in the first inning. ... Wilkerson leads NL
rookies in homers, multihit games (37), runs (84) and hits (125).