Expos 8, Reds 4
CINCINNATI (AP) _ Mark Grudzielanek homered in a five-run eighth inning _ his career-high fourth hit _ as the Montreal Expos rallied for an 8-4 victory Wednesday night over the error-prone Cincinnati Reds.
The Expos scored two unearned runs in the seventh and batted around for five unearned runs in the eighth as the Reds’ bullpen faltered and the defense let down with a 4-1 lead.
Rookie left fielder Steve Gibralter let Moises Alou’s fly ball to the wall deflect off his glove for an error to open the eighth. Darrin Fletcher’s two-out, two-run double off loser Jeff Shaw put the Expos up 5-4.
Dave Silvestri had a run-scoring pinch single off Xavier Hernandez and Grudzielanek followed with a two-run homer and his third RBI.
There was a similar scenario in the seventh, when third baseman Chris Sabo’s fielding error set up two unearned runs off Hector Carrasco. Henry Rodriguez had a pinch RBI double and scored on Grudzielanek’s single.
Cincinnati’s bullpen gave up nine hits over the last three innings.
Dave Veres, the fourth Montreal pitcher, allowed one hit in one inning to get the win. Mel Rojas pitched two perfect innings to save it.
For the second consecutive day, the crowd gave the umpiring crew an ovation when it came onto the field. Umpire John McSherry collapsed on the field and died Monday.
Montreal’s Pedro Martinez was supposed to start that game, but was moved back to Wednesday when it was postponed. The right-hander struck out six and allowed four runs on five hits, two of them by Barry Larkin, over five-plus innings.
Larkin, last year’s MVP, put the Reds ahead 2-1 with a single in the third. He also hit a solo homer as Cincinnati went up 4-1 in the sixth.
Reds starter John Smiley held the Expos to one run and six hits over six innings. His seven strikeouts gave him 1,000 for his career.
Notes: Montreal has lost nine of its last 11 games with Cincinnati. ... Now that Cecil Fielder has stolen a base, Expos catcher Tim Laker has the longest streak of any active player without a stolen base. He has gone 484 games without a steal. ... Disabled catcher Tim Laker had surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles to remove scar tissue from his right elbow. Laker had tendon transplant surgery last Nov. 21 by Dr. Frank Jobe. The latest surgery was intended to increase his range of motion. ... Reds second baseman Bret Boone had a whirlwind day. His wife, Suzi, gave birth to their first child, a girl, on Wednesday morning. Boone then flew to Birmingham, Ala., for arthroscopic surgery to remove four bone chips from his right elbow. He’ll be out three to six weeks.