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Expos 9, Cubs 5

August 23, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) _ Home runs were contagious for Montreal in the ninth inning Saturday. Andy Stankiewicz hit his first since 1993, and the Expos wound up hitting three in a row for the first time in four years.

``Those guys were probably saying, `If Stanky can hit one, we better hit one,′ ″ Stankiewicz said after Montreal rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 9-5. ``They stole my thunder.″

Stankiewicz, Mark Grudzielanek and Mike Lansing hit the consecutive homers. Darrin Fletcher also homered twice for the Expos.

``It’s always nice to see three home runs, even if it takes nine innings to do it,″ Expos manager Felipe Alou said.

With Montreal trailing 5-2, Doug Strange homered in the seventh and Fletcher connected in the eighth for a two-run drive off Bob Patterson (1-6). Fletcher, who has 15 homers, had the fourth multihomer game of his career, the first since Aug. 7, 1996.

``The big hit was Fletcher,″ Alou said. ``He was only 2-for-7 against the lefty (Patterson). That was a lift.″

``I remember him striking me out on big occasions over the years,″ Fletcher said of previous at-bats against Patterson. ``There will probably be a situation where he’ll get me the next time. I just got a pitch I could handle.″

Stankiewicz, who has four career homers in 684 at-bats over six seasons, hit his first since April 25, 1994, when he was with Houston and connected off Pittsburgh’s Denny Neagle.

``I don’t hit that many so I can’t tell you when I hit it if it was out,″ Stankiewicz said. ``At first, I was thinking of bunting for a base hit. When it got to 2-0, I thought he’d have to come with something over the plate.″

Kent Bottenfield relieved, Grudzielanek hit his fourth homer and Lansing followed with his 16th for an 8-5 lead.

Montreal hadn’t hit three in a row since June 29, 1993, when Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom and Larry Walker connected in the seventh against Pittsburgh.

``Our bullpen is too good for that to happen,″ Cubs manager Jim Riggleman said of the power display. ``A couple of those came off guys who’ve been pitching well.″

After the final homer, fans in the bleachers then threw garbage onto the field, halting play for a few minutes.

``Those actions speak for themselves,″ Riggleman said.

Montreal added another run on a wild pitch by Miguel Batista.

Chicago has lost six of eight, while the Expos won for only the third time in 11 games.

Anthony Telford (3-3) pitched two innings, striking out his last four batters.

Cubs starter Mark Clark gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked one. Expos starter Jose Paniagua allowed five runs and six hits in three innings.

Paniagua, who threw 28 pitches in one inning Aug. 17 in his previous start, needed 26 pitches to get through the first, allowing an RBI groundout by Sammy Sosa and run-scoring singles by Dave Clark and Kevin Orie.

Fletcher hit a two-run homer in the second as Montreal closed within a run, but Orie hit another RBI single in the third and scored on Ryne Sandberg’s double for a 5-2 lead.

Notes: The Expos have hit 135 homers in 127 games and are on pace to total 172 this season, which would eclipse the franchise-record of 148 set last year. ... The woman who jumped into the Expos dugout during Friday’s game was released from Illinois Masonic Hospital on Saturday. She did not break any bones. ... The Cubs’ four stolen bases in the first inning matched their season high, set July 12 against St. Louis. ... Cubs center fielder Lance Johnson remained sidelined because of a strained right rib cage sustained during batting practice Friday. ... Former Expos president John McHale will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. ... A father and son were picketing outside Wrigley Field, carrying a sign that said, ``Cub fans against baseball realignment″ on one side and ``Keep the White Sox out of the National League″ on the other. ... Cubs radio broadcaster Ron Santo has been sidelined since last Sunday because of laryngitis.

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