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Vlad's HR Wins It For Expos


Vladimir Guerrero got angry. Then he got even.

Guerrero, whose 31-game hitting streak was stopped the previous night, hit his 33rd homer with two outs in the ninth to give the Montreal Expos an 8-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.

Guerrero, whose game-winning shot came off reliever Scott Williamson (11-6), stood at home plate and exchanged words with Stan Belinda in the seventh after the Reds reliever who broke Guerrero's hand with a pitch in 1997 hit him on the left arm.

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  • "I yelled at him that it's twice now," Guerrero said through an interpreter. "He said, 'I'm just trying to pitch inside to you.' It feels good, even though I didn't hit it off Belinda."

    With Manny Martinez on first, Guerrero fouled off two 1-2 pitches before hitting a 445-shot over the left-field stands to give the Expos their fourth win in six games.

    "He didn't get too many pitches to hit," Expos manager Felipe Alou said. "Finally someone hung him a breaking ball and he hit it. It's the longest ball I've ever seen hit here to that part of the field, especially with two strikes."

    Guerrero came out for a curtain call his third in Montreal's last four games to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd of 11,238.

    "He's a very dangerous hitter," Williamson said. "He had a 31-game hitting streak with a lot of home runs in there. He's a great hitter and I made a mistake."

    Steve Kline (6-3) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.

    Trailing 6-2, Montreal tied the game with four-run fifth, capped by Brad Fullmer's sacrifice fly.

    Chris Widger hit his 14th homer off Brett Tomko to lead off the inning, cutting the lead to 6-3. Geoff Blum doubled and scored on pinch-hitter Orlando Merced's single, which chased Tomko.

    Scott Sullivan relieved and Merced advanced to second on Rondell White's grounder to short. Wilton Guerrero tripled to make it 6-5 and then scored the tying run on Fullmer's fly to the right-field wall.

    Tomko, who is 1-3 in his last 12 starts, allowed five runs and six hits in four-plus innings.

    Sean Casey went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and Pokey Reese went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles as the Reds scored six runs off Montreal starter Dan Smith.

    Casey, who also walked, is hitting .483 with 15 RBIs in seven career games at Olympic Stadium. He has 14 hits in 29 at-bats in Montreal, including two doubles and a homer.

    Michael Barrett went 3-for-4 with an RBI double for Montreal.

    Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead in the first on Aaron Boone's two-run single and could have done more damage, but Jason LaRue flew out to center with the bases loaded to end the inning.

    The Expos tied it 2-2 in the home half on Fullmer's run-scoring single and Barrett's RBI double.

    Casey hit an RBI single in the second to put the Reds ahead 3-2 and added a three-run double in the fourth.

    Smith, who is winless in his last four starts, allowed seven hits and five walks in 3 1-3 innings.

    "He made some bad pitches late in the count when he had two strikes on guys," said Widger, who caught the game. "He didn't make a couple of pitches to put them away but other than that, he pitched pretty well."

    Notes

  • Center fielder Jeffrey Hammonds threw out White, who was trying to advance from first, to complete a double play on Wilton Guerrero's fly to center in the seventh.
  • Hammonds was caught in a rundown and tagged out by third baseman Barett when Tomko failed to lay down a bunt on a suicide squeeze in the fifth. Tomko then just beat Vladimir Guerrero's throw to first when he followed with a single to right.
  • Montreal has hit a 46 homers in August, seven more than the previous team record of 39 set in April 1996.

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