ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Relief for the Montreal Expos came
from a starting pitcher.
Oh, closer Steve Kline did get the last five outs to finish
Saturday's 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. But it was
the pitching of right-hander Dustin Hermanson that put the Expos in
a position to break a four-game losing streak.
Hermanson (7-7) pitched 7 1/3 strong innings to win for the
first time since June 22, shutting out the Devil Rays before giving
up a run in the eighth. He won for just the second time in his last
10 starts, allowing seven hits while striking out one and walking
one in his longest outing since April 21.
"I'll admit it's been a pretty tough season for me so far, but
I plan on changing that starting now," Hermanson said.
"The little animal that's inside of me is not going to leave
any more. Actually the beast that's inside me. The only time I have
that little beast in me is when I'm out on the mound. Other than
that, I try to be Mr. Nice Guy."
Vladimir Guerrero drove in two runs with sacrifice flies and the
Expos scored an unearned run in the second inning off Steve
Trachsel (6-9). Kline replaced Hermanson with one out in the eighth
and earned his 12th save in 13 opportunities.
"We hit well here all three games. We got a lot of hits and we
put some runs on the board, but the starting pitching wasn't as
good as today," Expos manager Felipe Alou said after his team
avoided being swept by the Devil Rays. "We really had a pitching
duel out there. I hadn't seen that for a while."
Trachsel, who scattered 10 hits, struck out six and walked two
in eight innings, had been 6-0 in 11 starts against Montreal -- all
while he was with the Chicago Cubs.
"You can't pitch much better than he did," Tampa Bay manager
Larry Rothschild said. "He gave up some hits, but he threw the
ball very well."
Miguel Cairo and Felix Martinez opened the eighth with singles
for Tampa Bay. Pinch-hitter Bubba Trammell drove in Cairo with a
The Expos added two runs in the ninth on Peter Bergeron's RBI
single and Guerrero's sacrifice fly off Jim Mecir.
Montreal loaded the bases with no outs on first-inning singles
by Bergeron, Jose Vidro and Wilton Guerrero, but they only got one
run out of it on Vladimir Guerrero's broken-bat sacrifice fly.
"It was two broken bats, a bunt and a bloop over shortstop. You
can't be upset with that," Trachsel said. "They got the placement
when they needed it, and we didn't."
The Devil Rays starter allowed an unearned in the second when
Michael Barrett doubled with one out and scored when left fielder
Steve Cox mishandled Bergeron's two-out single for an error.
Tampa Bay failed to take advantage of opportunities to cut into
a 2-0 deficit in the third and fourth innings.
Jose Guillen was thrown out at the plate on play in which
Montreal catcher Chris Widger suffered a mild concussion in the
third. Greg Vaughn led off the fourth with a double, but couldn't
score on John Flaherty's two-out single.
Guillen, attempting to score from second on Gerald Williams'
single, appeared to catch Widger in the side of the head with his
knee when he slammed into the catcher, who was blocking the plate.
Widger held onto the throw from left fielder Terry Jones and
Guillen was called out. The catcher remained on the ground for a
couple of minutes before getting up and walking off the field with
help from a trainer and manager Felipe Alou.
Hermanson retired eight in a row before Flaherty singled with
two outs in the seventh. He got out of the inning when the next
batter, Guillen, grounded into a double play.
|Hermanson unleashes 'animal' inside him|
Widger's status is listed as day to day ... Bergeron,
3-for-4 with a walk, finished the series 8-for-13 ... Trachsel made
his team-high 20th start for Tampa Bay, marking his seventh
straight season with 20-plus starts. He hasn't missed a scheduled
turn on the mound since his lone stint on the disabled list with
the Cubs in 1994, a stretch of 182 consecutive starts ... Vidro
(1-for-5) leads the NL with 124 hits. Vladimir Guerrero (0-for-2)
has 118. The Expos team record for a tandem is 387 by Al Oliver
(204) and Andre Dawson (183) in 1982 ... The game drew a crowd of
19,366, which turned out despite a nasty thunderstorm. The Devil
Rays offered each a fan an opportunity to exchange their ticket
stubs for one of two future home dates against Minnesota and Kansas
Tampa Bay Clubhouse
NY Mets 4
San Francisco 2
Los Angeles 2
Tampa Bay 1
NY Yankees 0
Chi. White Sox 15
St. Louis 7
Chicago Cubs 8
Kansas City 7
San Diego 4