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Guerrero's Blasts Down Reds


Vladimir Guerrero emphatically ended Montreal's hitting slump and its losing streak with a pair of 400-foot homers.

Guerrero's solo shots provided the first and the last of Montreal's runs and Jose Vidro drove in four more Wednesday night for a 10-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

An offense reduced to a trickle during Montreal's six-game losing streak poured out 16 hits, matching the Expos' season high. As he has so often this season, Guerrero led the way with his third multihomer game.

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  • The right fielder has 15 homers, 44 RBIs and a .386 batting average. By comparison, the Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. has 14 homers, 38 RBIs and a .212 average after going 0-for-3 Wednesday night.

    "I've said it before: He's got a chance to be the most exciting player in baseball in the next few years," Reds manager Jack McKeon said. "He may be the best now. I like the way he hustles out there."

    While Guerrero got the offense jump-started, the Expos' injury-ravaged pitching staff got a boost from reliever Mike Johnson (1-0), who filled in for Hideki Irabu and gave up only two hits in five innings.

    Johnson, making his first start in the majors since last Aug. 13, had a career-high seven strikeouts and retired his last 13 batters, bailing out a beleaguered staff.

    "That was really satisfying," Johnson said. "There was a little pressure to give them some solid innings. I think I picked the team up and kept them in the game and saved the bullpen a little bit."

    Dustin Hermanson took over in the sixth and kept the streak going, stretching it to 21 Reds retired in order before Aaron Boone homered in the eighth to start a three-run outburst. Hermanson will move back into the rotation next week to fill in for Irabu, out for a month after surgery Wednesday for torn knee cartilage.

    "That was quite a game," manager Felipe Alou said. "For anyone who knows what we're trying to accomplish (with the injuries) and trying to start and to survive, that was a big game."

    Pitching hasn't been the Expos' biggest problem during their longest losing streak of the season. Injuries, errors and a feeble offense have done them in on a 2-6 road trip.

    Montreal was outscored 42-13 in the first seven games of the trip, stranding 50 runners. The low point came Tuesday night, when 22 Expos went down in order during a 4-2 series-opening loss to the Reds.

    The offense broke out Wednesday as Guerrero homered in the second and ninth innings and Peter Bergeron had the first four-hit game of his career.

    Guerrero got it going with a homer off Steve Parris (2-7) leading off the second inning, his 14th of the season and his first since May 18.

    Lee Stevens' double and Orlando Cabrera's two-out single put the Expos ahead to stay 2-1 in the fifth, and Montreal knocked Parris out of the game with two more runs in the sixth. Vidro doubled home the first run and Stevens had a run-scoring single off Dennys Reyes.

    The Expos pulled away by batting around for four runs in the seventh off Elmer Dessens. Vidro's double drove in two more runs and gave him 23 multihit games, most in the NL. Guerrero added an RBI double and completed Montreal's scoring with a leadoff homer in the ninth.

    It was the first time in Parris' career that he struggled against the Expos. He had won his other three starts, allowing only four runs for a 1.54 ERA.

    Griffey went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, leaving him hitless in his last 14 at-bats. He is in a 4-for-40 skid.

    Notes

  • Hermanson made seven starts before moving into the bullpen to fill in for injured closer Ugueth Urbina. He threw 40 pitches Wednesday as Alou tried to get him back into starting shape.
  • In addition to putting Irabu on the 15-day L, the Expos called up RHP Matt Skrmetta from Triple-A Ottawa.
  • RHP Mike Thurman will fly to Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday so Dr. James Andrews can examine his sore right elbow. Thurman went on the DL May 26.
  • Johnson hadn't started a game since last Aug. 13.
  • Montreal has eight pitchers and two catchers on the DL.
  • The Reds will wear their 1975 double-knit uniforms against the Twins on Saturday as part of their Big Red Machine reunion.
  • The Reds announced in the ninth that OF Alex Ochoa was taken to a hospital for an emergency appendectomy and will be out three weeks.

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