The beat goes on
Guerrero extends hitting streak to 20 in Expos' winPosted: Thursday June 27, 2002 6:59 PM
Updated: Thursday June 27, 2002 7:29 PM
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- To the Pittsburgh Pirates, this season is beginning to resemble one long rain delay. They're spending a lot of time at the ballpark and not getting very much accomplished. Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Macias homered and the Montreal Expos scored six runs in the final two innings against Pittsburgh's bullpen to beat the Pirates 7-2 Thursday in a game called after 6 1/2 innings because of rain.
Two rain delays, one featuring brilliant lightning and a brief, heavy downpour, lasted longer (2 hours, 27 minutes) than the game (2 hours, 8 minutes).
"As far as I'm concerned, it's a beautiful day because we won a ballgame," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "It was tough to compete because of the way it was, but as long as you're out there, you do the best you can."
The Expos lost their first two games of the three-game series, but have won 10 of 13.
Sitting out their 13th and 14th rain delays of the season at PNC Park, the Pirates lost their 10th in 13 games and for the seventh time on a just-completed nine-game homestand.
"The rain is tough because you get all geared up to play, then you've got to sit around. It's frustrating," Pirates starting pitcher Jimmy Anderson said.
Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon felt nervous as play went on even as lightning flashed behind downtown skyscrapers just across the Allegheny River.
"That was a little scary," he said. "That was not a comfortable situation. In my mind, that was a dangerous situation."
Anderson stayed in the game after an initial delay of one hour, 37 minutes in the third inning, only to be lifted with a 2-1 lead after five innings.
Anderson threw three times in a batting cage during the delay, and McClendon said, "He was up to around 120 pitches, counting the times he threw inside, and that was enough."
As reliever Jim Brower (3-0) was holding Pittsburgh to one hit over four shutout innings, the Expos took advantage of Anderson's departure to jump on Ron Villone and Mike Lincoln for three runs each. Macias hit a two-run homer and Guerrero had a solo shot in the seventh, both off Lincoln.
The game was called after a second rain delay of 50 minutes, this time with the Pirates batting in the seventh, even though only a light mist was falling and the sun was peeking through the clouds above PNC Park.
However, the grass field was slick and, the players said, was becoming more treacherous as the long afternoon dragged on.
"The first thing with a game like today, you've got to be careful," said Jose Vidro, who was 3-for-4 with a double. "We try to play hard because we're professionals, but it was bad out there. It was real easy to get hurt."
The Pirates found that out as outfielder Rob Mackowiak (ankle), catcher Keith Osik (cramping) and shortstop Jack Wilson (shin contusion) all sustained minor injuries. The Pirates already were without second baseman Pokey Reese, who is day to day with a hyperextended shoulder and thigh injury.
The Expos didn't take long to grab the lead in the sixth as Villone (2-6) allowed hits to three of the four batters he faced.
Vidro and Wil Cordero doubled to tie it at 2 and Fernando Tatis singled. With Lincoln in, Andres Galarraga hit a sacrifice fly to deep left and Orlando Cabrera added his second double of the game and the Expos' third of the inning.
Brad Wilkerson started the three-run seventh with a pinch-hit triple ahead of Macias' two-run homer, his second, and Guerrero's 17th, a solo drive to left.
Guerrero went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 20 games, the second Expos' streak of 20 games or longer this season. Vidro had a 21-game streak in May. Guerrero had a career-high 31-game streak in 1999. Expos starter Zach Day, making his second career start, was taken out trailing 2-1 in the third after the first rain delay. The Pirates scored on Chad Hermansen's RBI single and Keith Osik's sacrifice fly in the second.
Notes: Brower won for the first time since being traded by Cincinnati earlier this month. ... Guerrero, Florida's Luis Castillo and Boston's Nomar Garciaparra are the only active players with hitting streaks of at least 30 and 20 games in their careers. ... Guerrero also had an 11-game streak earlier this season. ... The teams split the six games in their season series. ... The Pirates had played a season-high seven consecutive home games without a rain delay. The delays at home have totaled 16 hours, 14 minutes.