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Updated: Sunday, June 27, 2004 5:46 PM EDT
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MONTREAL 9, TORONTO 4
 

TORONTO (Ticker) -- The Montreal Expos finally gave Livan Hernandez some early run support as Tony Batista made Pat Hentgen pay for his wildness.

Hernandez pitched seven innings and Batista tied a career high with five RBI to lead the Expos to a 9-4 triumph over the Blue Jays .

Hernandez (5-7) leads the major leagues in innings pitched, working into the seventh in each of his 17 starts. But the Expos have averaged just 2.1 runs in his seven losses.

"Nine runs is perfect," Hernandez said. "It's good when you get a lot of run support. I think I relaxed a little bit and they scored three runs (in the fourth inning). I knew I threw a lot of pitches, but mentally you need to be ready to try and pitch longer in the game."

The big righthander needed 141 pitches to earn this win. He allowed four runs and nine hits while striking out seven.

"He wasn't at his best today, but we'll take it," Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. "He threw a lot of pitches, but with the lead we had that made it a little easier. It was nice to see the run support for Livan. I just felt like we needed him to go seven innings today if he needs a day off he'll tell us."

"He'll throw all of his pitches at any time no matter what the score," Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun said. "He (Hernandez) picks the corners and changes speeds real well. Give him all the credit today."

Hentgen (2-8) walked four of the first five batters he faced before Batista's two-run single gave the Expos a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

"It felt pretty good, it's a great day," said Batista on his five RBI performance. "(Hentgen and Nakamura) tried to get by with a couple of breaking pitches in my first two at-bats and I was waiting for that."

In the second, Hentgen surrendered a two-run homer to Brad Wilkerson and was removed after issuing a two-out pass to Nick Johnson , his fifth walk of the game.

Reliever Michael Nakamura hit Carl Everett and Batista followed with his ninth homer of the season to make it 8-0.

"We got on him early and then continued to put runs on the board," Wilkerson said. "When you give a cushion like that to Livan it's pretty much a done deal."

Hentgen fell to 0-6 in eight starts since May 10. The former American League Cy Young Award winner gave up six runs and three hits in 1 2/3 innings.

"I just had an awful day," said Hentgen who matched his season high with five walks. "I didn't pitch well, didn't throw strikes and didn't hit my spots. Where do you want me to start? I just had a bad game. I obviously rely a lot on my control and that's a big issue for me right now."

Jose Vidro singled to extend his hitting streak to 14 games for the Expos, who have won five of their last eight games following a seven-game losing streak.


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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