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Stinnett throws away Reds chances in 11th

9/28/2002

MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Expos want to finish up on a high.

Cincinnati catcher Kelly Stinnett's throwing error with two outs
in the 11th allowed the winning run to score as Montreal beat the
Reds 4-3 Friday night.

Vladimir Guerrero failed to homer for the third straight game in
his quest for a 40-40 season but the Expos still won their 81st
game to avoid a losing season for the first time in six years.

"I'm not satisfied. We've got two more to play,'' Expos manager
Frank Robinson said. "We'll come out tomorrow and try and win that
ballgame. I'd like to finish over .500 -- that would be meaningful.
I'm not satisfied yet.''

Montreal moved 1½ games ahead of Philadelphia, which lost 5-2 in
Florida. The Expos can assure their first second-place finish since
1996 with a win in one of its final two games or another Phillies
loss.

Guerrero singled off John Riedling (2-4) to lead off the 11th.
Wilton Guerrero sacrificed but Riedling's throw to second went into
center field, allowing the runners to advance to second and third.

Orlando Cabrera was intentionally walked but -- with the Reds
using five infielders -- Vladimir Guerrero was forced out at the
plate on Brad Wilkerson's grounder to first.

Left fielder Adam Dunn remained in the infield and pinch hitter
Brian Schneider grounded to second baseman Todd Walker, who threw
out Wilton Guerrero at the plate, but Stinnett's throw to first
went into right field, allowing Cabrera to score the winning run.

"It was a couple of inches away,'' Stinnett said. "The guys
did a really good job and I just tried to make a play at the end of
the game and it didn't work out for us.''

Joey Eischen (6-1) pitched the 11th for the win.

Guerrero remained one home run short of becoming the fourth
major leaguer -- after Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez
-- to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in the same season. Alfonso
Soriano of the Yankees is also one homer shy.

Guerrero, who was hitless in his first three at-bats, was hit on
the left shoulder by reliever Chris Reitsma's 1-1 pitch in the
eighth, drawing loud boos from the Olympic Stadium crowd of 7,750.
He struck out swinging in the second and third and grounded in the
sixth.

"I'm not happy the way clubs have been pitching him,'' Robinson
said. "I'm not going to stand for that. If they want to pitch him
tough, pitch him tough, but don't use him for target practice.''

Barry Larkin got a pinch-hit infield single to lead off the
11th. Pinch runner Wily Pena advanced to second as Reggie Taylor
reached when Eischen misplayed his sacrifice for an error.

Both runners advanced on Aaron Boone's sacrifice, but Eischen
escaped the jam with a double play as Todd Walker flied to shallow
center and Pena was thrown out at home by center fielder Endy
Chavez.

Trailing 3-2 after Russell Branyan hit his second homer of the
game in the seventh, Montreal tied it in the bottom half on
Cabrera's solo shot off Dessens.

Wilkerson hit his 20th homer -- a two-run shot in the second -- to
break the Expos' rookie record set by Andre Dawson in 1977 and tied
by Larry Walker in 1990. He hadn't homered in 14 games since tying
the record on Sept. 6.

"It means a lot to even tie the record and be mentioned with
names like Andre Dawson and Larry Walker,'' Wilkerson said. "It
feels kind of good to get the monkey off my back because I've been
sitting on 19 for so long.''

Branyan tied it at 2 with a two-run homer off Javier Vazquez in
the fourth before giving the Reds the lead with his second straight
home run, a 422-foot drive into the back of the stands in
right-center for his 16th of the season with one out in the
seventh.

Vazquez allowed seven hits and three runs in eight innings in
his final start of the season. He went 2-0 over his last four
starts following a seven-game losing streak.

Game notes
Boone played his 160th game of the season. Boone, who has
made 140 starts at third base and 13 at shortstop, could become the
first Red to appear in 162 games since Dave Parker in 1986. ...
Vazquez allowed 28 home runs this season. He allowed a team-record
32 homers in 1998, his rookie season.