Expos 7, Cardinals 2

Thursday, September 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Vladimir Guerrero hits his 33rd home run in the Expos 7-2 win over St, Louis Wednesday. (AP Photo)

ST. LOUIS--Even if the standings don't show it, Jose Vidro still thinks the Montreal Expos have something to play for.

"Right now, we're trying to set up some things for next year, and we're playing hard every game," Vidro said after the Expos beat the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals 7-2 Wednesday night.

"It doesn't matter if we're playing a last-place team or a first-place team, the games are all the same to us," he said.

"We're looking at some players for next year and we want to have something to look forward to."

The Cardinals were looking to extend their winning streak to seven games while the Expos were trying to avoid falling a season-low 23 games under .500.

The Cardinals are playing for a possible home-field advantage in the playoffs while the Expos are trying to avoid last place in their division.

Expos manager Felipe Alou said his young team hasn't given up.

"They want to win and they want to beat the good teams like St. Louis," Alou said. "That's how you improve your own team, by not backing down against the better teams."

Expos starter Dustin Hermanson said he didn't need any extra motivation.

"I get juiced up no matter who I'm pitching against," he said. "But I especially like to pitch in this park."

Hermanson (11-12) hadn't faced the Cardinals since Sept. 26, 1998 when he gave up home run No. 67 to Mark McGwire.

Of course, Hermanson didn't have to face McGwire on Wednesday night since he is still on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right knee.

Hermanson said he used a variation on his changeup to keep the Cardinals from looking for his fastball.

"I had a good changeup tonight and I set up a good tempo by working fast," he said.

Cardinals starter Garrett Stephenson (15-8) said he wasn't displeased with his performance accept for the two pitches that Vladimir Guerrero hit for home runs.

"There's no certain way to pitch the guy," Stephenson said. "I didn't feel like I made any mistakes and I still got beat."

Hermanson struck out four and walked only two in his eight innings.

Guerrero hit his second home run in the eighth for his sixth multihomer game, and 10th of his career. The two homers were the first of his career at Busch Stadium.

Stephenson gave up four runs, nine hits, struck out six and walked one in eight innings. He is winless in his last two starts after winning his previous four decisions.

St. Louis took a 1-0 lead in the third with the help of an error by second baseman Vidro. J.D. Drew singled and went to third on a single by Jim Edmonds. Drew scored when Vidro bobbled a grounder hit by Will Clark.

The Expos took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Guerrero hit his 33rd homer after a single by Andy Tracy.

The Expos added another run in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Orlando Cabrera and Brian Schneider.

The Cardinals got their second run in the eighth when drew doubled and scored on a single by Will Clark.

With the score 4-2 after Guerrero's second homer of the game, reliever Alan Benes gave up the final three Expos runs in the ninth. Cabrera, who reached on a double, scored on an error by shortstop Edgar Renteria and a two-run homer by Milton Bradley.

Notes:@ The Cardinals had played 87 straight errorless innings before Renteria's error in the eighth. ... Mike Matheny's career-best 12-game hitting streak was stopped when he went 0-for-three with a walk. ... Fernando Tatis doubled to snap an 0-for-19 streak.