Phils Lose Again; Expos One Behind In Wild Card

The Phillies fell to 1-8 on their current 13 game road trip, losing to the Expos 9-6 Wednesday night at Olympic Stadium. With the win, the surprising Expos pulled to within one game of both the Phillies and Marlins for the National League Wild Card. The Marlins have also struggled on the road, losing in Pittsburgh Wednesday night.

The Montreal Expos are turning Olympic Stadium into a real home-field advantage. The Philadelphia Phillies continue to turn any game on the road into a substantial disadvantage.

Pinch hitter Joe Vitiello singled in the go-ahead run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Expos extended their home winning streak to eight games with a 9-6 victory over the slumping Phillies. A journeyman, Vitiello snapped the tie by lining a single into right field off Dan Plesac (2-1) to plate Endy Chavez.

On Tuesday, the Expos rallied from an eight-run deficit en route to a wild 14-10 victory. One night later, they squandered a five-run lead in the top of the seventh before answering in the bottom of the inning.

Vladimir Guerrero had a solo homer among his three hits and knocked in two runs for the Expos, who have won 13 of their last 14 at home - all in Montreal. The surprising Expos pulled within one game of the Phillies and Marlins in the National League wild card race.

Hector Almonte (1-1), who surrendered a grand slam to rookie Marlon Byrd in the top of the seventh, picked up the win. Joey Eischen retired the only two batters he faced and Rocky Biddle got the final four outs for his 31st save in 37 chances.

The Phillies have lost a season-high five straight and fell to an embarrassing 1-8 on a season-high 13-game road trip.

Expos starter Tomo Ohka allowed three hits and carried a 6-1 lead into the seventh before the Phillies rallied. Jim Thome led off with a double and Mike Lieberthal singled. After rookie Chase Utley flied out, Pat Burrell delivered an RBI double to chase Ohka. Almonte came on and retired Jimmy Rollins before walking pinch hitter Tomas Perez to load the bases. That set the stage for Byrd, who deposited a 2-1 pitch over the left-center field wall for his sixth homerun and the first grand slam of his career, tying the game, 6-6.

Plesac began the bottom of the inning and retired the first two batters before Chavez doubled. Vitiello batted for Almonte and singled into right field to score Chavez without a play.

In the eighth, the Expos added a pair of insurance runs, getting some help from the usually ineffective Turk Wendell, who hit Jose Vidro and Guerrero to start the inning. Wendell was ejected after hitting Guerrero. Carlos Silva relieved and uncorked a wild pitch. He retired his first two batters but Brian Schneider came through with a two-run double to extend the Expos' lead to 9-6.

Guerrero snapped a 1-1 tie when he led off the fourth with his 19th homer of the season and 27th in his career against the Phillies. Wilkerson drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning off Brett Myers to make it 3-1.

Todd Zeile delivered a tw-run single in the fifth and Guerrero drove in a run with a double in the sixth, extending the advantage to 6-1.

The series wraps up Thursday afternoon with Amaury Telemaco (1-1, 3.75) going against Javier Vazquez (11-8, 3.27).


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