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Reds Fall From Race With Loss


Though they have no playoff hopes, the Montreal Expos proved that they can still play a role in determining who gets to go to the postseason.

Geoff Blum's triple drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the sixth inning Sunday as the Montreal Expos spoiled Pete Harnisch's second attempt for his 100th career victory with an 8-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

The win was Montreal's second straight comeback victory over the Reds, who fell 1 1/2 games behind Houston in the NL Central race.

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  • "We're not in the pennant race but we could be the spoiler," Blum said. "And coming back against the Cincinnati Reds, that's something we can tuck away and remember for next time."

    Trailing 6-5 with runners on first and second and two outs, Blum tripled to put the Expos ahead and chase Harnisch (13-8).

    "It's been a while since I've been in that situation, to be able to put the team ahead like that with runners on base," Blum said. "That's probably one of the first times I haven't chased a bad pitch and gotten myself out."

    Harnisch, who lost his previous start to end a personal eight-game winning streak, had a 5-0 lead and held Montreal hitless through the first four innings before the Expos scored five times in the fifth to tie the game.

    "It was embarrassing, as simple as that," Harnisch said. "You blow a five-run lead, score six runs, you should be able to win."

    Cincinnati still has the best road record in the majors at 40-22, despite losing six of its last eight road games.

    The Reds will play host to a three-game series against Atlanta, owners of the best record in the majors, beginning Monday. The Braves swept a thre-game series from Cincinnati last weekend at Turner Field.

    "We've got to go right at those guys," Reds first baseman Sean Casey said. "They took it to us in Atlanta and we need to step it up a little bit when they come to our place."

    Jeffrey Hammonds, who went 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs, homered off reliever Guillermo Mota (2-3) with one out in the sixth to put the Reds back on top 6-5.

    Michael Barrett doubled with two outs in the bottom half of the inning to start Montreal's three-run rally. Shane Andrews walked and Blum tripled past Hammonds' diving attempt in center field to put the Expos ahead 7-6.

    Pinch-hitter Wilton Guerrero drew a walk off reliever Dennis Reyes before Manny Martinez singled to drive in Montreal's final run.

    Ugueth Urbina pitched the ninth for his 32nd save in 40 opportunities.

    Harnisch, who gave up eight runs, allowed seven hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings.

    "It's all on me," Harnisch said. "I've got to be able to hold them down late enough to where we can win this game, it's as simple as that."

    Hammonds hit a two-run single off Expos starter Javier Vazquez to cap Cincinnati's four-run first inning. Barry Larkin's second double of the game drove in the Reds' fifth run in the second.

    Ryan McGuire's pinch-hit two-run triple and Orlando Merced's two-out solo homer his eighth keyed Montreal's five-run rally against Harnisch in the fifth.

    Notes

  • Harnisch has a 99-92 career record.
  • Reds OF Greg Vaughn made his first start since last Wednesday in Atlanta when he sprained his right shoulder running into the left-field fence.
  • Casey, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI double, went 8-for-16 during the series with nine RBIs.
  • Montreal has hit a team record 47 homers in August, eight more than the previous mark of 39 in one month set in April 1996.
  • Vladimir Guerrero, whose 31-game hitting streak ended on Friday night, went hitless in four at-bats. He is 1-for-10 in his last three games, though the one hit was a game-winning, two-run homer his 12th in August on Saturday night.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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