Expos 9, Padres 3
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Pedro Martinez and Carlos Perez had the weekend off, and the Montreal Expos still won two of three games against the San Diego Padres.
Jim Bullinger did his best imitation of Montreal’s two top pitchers by taking a one-hitter into the ninth inning Sunday. He finished by allowing three hits in 8 1-3 innings and hit one of Montreal’s season-high six homers as the Expos won 9-3.
``That was a great job by a guy with a 10.13 ERA,″ Expos manager Felipe Alou said. ``He threw well.″
Said Padres manager Bruce Bochy: ``It seems like that’s how it’s gone. Guys pitch their best games against us.″
Bullinger was coming off a loss to Chicago in which he gave up eight runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings.
``I’ve been working hard to try to find my delivery and I found it somewhat today,″ Bullinger said. ``Not quite what I want it to be, but it was much better today. I found it. I need to hang on to it and continue it.″
Bullinger (2-4) allowed just Chris Gomez’s RBI double in the second before Ken Caminiti and Chris Jones hit consecutive homers in the ninth. Lee Smith relieved for the last two outs.
Until Caminiti and Jones connected, Bullinger had outhit the Padres, 2-1.
Rondell White went 4-for-5 and drove in four runs with the first two-homer game of his career. Vladimir Guerrero, Henry Rodriguez and Chris Widger also homered for Montreal, which is second only to Colorado in home runs in the NL.
Bullinger sort of called his fourth-inning homer off left-hander Sterling Hitchcock, the fourth of his career.
``I was going to go up there and look for a soft pitch the whole at-bat, I told one of the guys, and then try to hit one,″ said Bullinger, a former minor league shortstop. ``He fell behind 2-and-0 with two fastballs, and I figure that he’s got to throw me another one, and he threw me a fat fastball. He probably didn’t think I was swinging. I had to adjust a little to the count.″
Both of White’s homers and the shots by Bullinger and Guerrero came off Sterling Hitchcock (2-3), who hasn’t won since April 11.
Hitchcock, pitching on three days’ rest, had been scheduled to start Tuesday night against Chicago. But Bochy moved him up to get his pitchers back on a five-day rotation.
White hit a two-run shot in the third inning and a leadoff shot in the fifth that went an estimated 436 feet to left-center. He has seven homers this season.
White had gone 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Saturday night’s 1-0 loss.
He said he had been hard on himself afterward, but his wife, Angela, told him just to be ready.
``Instead of thinking about yesterday and coming to the park being mad, I just said that things aren’t going to be rougher today than they were yesterday,″ White said.
Guerrero’s homer to right field, his first of the year, gave Montreal a 4-1 lead and chased Hitchcock with one out in the fifth. Sean Bergman, who had been scheduled to start Sunday, came on and surrendered a first-pitch homer to Rodriguez.
Bullinger’s homer in the fourth was his first since connecting off Bob Tewksbury here on April 25, 1996, when he was with the Cubs.
Widger hit a leadoff shot in the eighth on the first pitch from Joey Long. White and David Segui had RBI singles in the eighth.
The defending NL West champion Padres lost for the 12th time in 15 games. San Diego is nine games off the division lead, the most since being 12 1/2 behind when the players’ strike ended the 1994 season.
``There’s a sense of urgency that we have to feel,″ Bochy said. ``We can’t keep saying that it’s a long season. But we’ve been through this before and I’m confident we’ll snap out of it.″
Notes: After being retired in four straight at-bats, seven-time NL batting champion Tony Gwynn is 2-for-15 lifetime against Bullinger. ... Bullinger lowered his ERA from 10.13 to 8.49. ... Bullinger, a former minor league infielder, had the second-best batting average among NL pitchers last year at .250. ... Rickey Henderson is in a 5-for-48 (.104) slump. He started Sunday after missing the previous four games with a calf injury. ... Expos right-hander Matt Wagner has opted for arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder after he felt pain throwing on the side Friday night.