Gagne Pitches in Montreal One Last Time

Thursday, August 26th 2004, 6:59 am
By: News On 6

Even with a big lead, Eric Gagne wanted to pitch in front of his hometown fans one last time. With the Montreal Expos expected to move following the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers' 10-3 win Thursday night was likely Gagne's final appearance in Olympic Stadium.

Fans started cheering when he warmed up, and he received a standing ovation when he pitched. After a leadoff walk, the defending NL Cy Young Award winner got two strikeouts and a grounder to end it.

``It's real special to get a warm ovation like that,'' Gagne said. ``I wanted to get in, because it means a win for us, and a little bit for the fans. It might be the last chance, so I was trying to give a good show out there. It's a big family here, and they're really proud of their athletes, and they showed it tonight.''

The Expos joined the major leagues in 1969, but are likely headed to Washington's RFK Stadium next season.

``I know way down deep he must have had some butterflies, even if it was 10-3,'' Expos coach Claude Raymond said.

In other NL games, it was Chicago 8, Houston 3; San Diego 10, New York 3; San Francisco 5, Florida 0; Cincinnati 1, St. Louis 0; and Atlanta 6, Colorado 4.

At Montreal, Adrian Beltre hit his major league-high 41st homer, and Steve Finley had three hits and four RBIs for the Dodgers, who split the four-game series.

Jeff Weaver (12-10) improved to 5-0 in his last six starts, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings and hitting a two-run single in a seven-run sixth.

Livan Hernandez (9-12) walked two batters with the bases loaded in the sixth, putting the Dodgers ahead 5-3, and allowed eight runs _ six earned _ in 5 1-3 innings.

Cubs 8, Astros 3

Sammy Sosa and Aramis Ramirez hit consecutive homers in a five-run third at Wrigley Field, and Chicago won its fifth straight. The Cubs lead San Francisco by one game and San Diego by two in the NL wild-card race.

Mark Prior (4-3) got his first win in three weeks, needing 116 pitches to get through six innings. The loss was just the third in 11 games for the Astros, who fell seven games behind the Cubs.

Brandon Backe (1-2) gave up seven runs and nine hits in three-plus innings. Carlos Beltran homered for the fourth straight game.

Padres 10, Mets 3

Adam Eaton (9-11) allowed two hits in seven shutout innings to win his seventh straight road start, Mark Loretta drove in three runs, and visiting San Diego opened a 10-0 lead in completing a four-game sweep.

New York, which has lost five straight, never held a lead during the series and was outscored 26-8.

Steve Trachsel (10-11) gave up six runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.

Giants 5, Marlins 0

Brett Tomko (7-6) pitched a four-hitter at Miami for his first career shutout, striking out four and walking one in his first complete game this season. He is 5-0 in seven starts against the Marlins, who fell seven games back of the Cubs.

Ray Durham hit a two-run homer. Josh Beckett (5-8) lasted just 5 1-3 innings and departed trailing 4-0.

Reds 1, Cardinals 0

Aaron Harang (8-6) pitched a three-hitter for his first career complete game and Sean Casey homered in the sixth off Chris Carpenter (13-5).

At Cincinnati, Carpenter also pitched a three-hitter, striking out 11 in his first complete game since July 29, 2002, with Toronto at Kansas City _ also a loss.

Cincinnati took two of three from the Cardinals, who had won eight straight series since dropping two of three games July 23-25 at home against San Francisco.

Braves 6, Rockies 4

Mike Hampton (10-9) helped himself with an RBI single. Atlanta, heading toward its 13th straight division title, increased its NL East lead to a season-high 9 1/2 games, completing a three-game sweep that stretched its winning streak to four. Visiting Colorado lost its fourth straight.

Hampton is 9-3 against Colorado, where he played in 2001-02. He allowed six hits and four walks in six innings, but gave up only two runs. John Smoltz pitched the ninth for his 34th save.

Jamey Wright (1-2) pitched five innings and gave up six earned runs _ his most since signing with the team on July 22.