Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Phillies 8, Expos 3

Veterans Stadium's final businessperson's special sure didn't begin on a promising note. After punching out Brad Wilkerson and Orlando Cabrera to open the game, Kevin Millwood walked Jose Vidro and Vladimir Guerrerro on close pitches. Wil Cordero followed by slamming a ball over the leftfield wall.

After Ron Calloway took yet another borderline ball, Larry Bowa strolled out for a visit with Millwood, and right away you knew something was up. Home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez must have thought so, too; instead of allowing Bowa some time to say his piece to Millwood, he stomped almost immediately to the mound, where Bowa immediately engaged him in an animated discussion. Seconds later, Bo was tossed, though he stayed around a minute or two to bob his head furiously and blister Marquez's eardrums while shadowing him back to the plate.

Montreal starter T.J. Tucker, meanwhile, set down seven straight Phillies before Todd Pratt, playing for Mike Lieberthal, poked a line-drive homer to left. Tomas Perez and Millwood were retired, and then the Phils put five on the board with two outs. Unlike last week's debacle at Stade Olympique, there was little doubt that the Phillies would make this one hold up.

Millwood settled down after his shaky first and plowed through the Expos with ease, departing after eight innings in favor of Carlos Silva, who pitched an easy ninth. The Phillies tacked on insurance runs in the fourth and sixth, but they weren't necessary. After being swept by the Marlins in Miami and losing to the Phils last night, Montreal played with little fire this afternoon, and the Phillies cruised to a thoroughly professional win. Lousy weather kept the crowd relatively sparse, yet the 18,000 who attended managed to make a fair amount of noise.

The Expos, like the rest of the National League wild-card contenders, failed miserably to take advantage of Philadelphia's and Florida's recent slumps, and now, five games behind the Phils, seem relegated to wondering where the hell they're going to play next season.


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