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Expos' hitting bashes Padres

CP   2003-05-09 11:31:30  

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Expos offence gave starter Tomo Ohka just what he needed last night to escape his recent funk -- run support, and plenty of it.

Brad Wilkerson and Fernando Tatis each drove in two runs in Montreal's six-run first while Ohka threw eight innings of three-run ball as the Expos completed a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres with a 12-5 win.

"That was exactly what we needed and what we wanted tonight," said Expos manager Frank Robinson. "The offence did what we would like them to do. They went right out and jumped on them early and it made it a little more comfortable and easier for Ohka to go out there."

Vladimir Guerrero went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, Wil Cordero went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Wilkerson was 3-for-4 with three RBIs for the Expos as they scored 12 runs for the second straight night.

"I feel like I'm seeing the ball real well right now," said Wilkerson. "I just feel very good right now."

Just 5,274 fans were on hand at Olympic Stadium, the Expos' smallest crowd this season. The three-game series drew 16,226.

Most of the damage was done against Padres starter Brian Lawrence (2-4), who gave up 10 runs, nine earned, on nine hits and three walks in just 2 2/3 innings. The Expos (21-13) added three in the second and one in the third before Lawrence's day was done.

The sweep was Montreal's fourth of the year and first over the Padres since July 1994.

San Diego has lost five straight and 10 of 11, dropping to an NL-worst 11-23.

Ohka (3-4), who pitched a total of 3 2/3 innings while losing his previous two starts, allowed three runs and eight hits in eight innings.

"As he got into the game I think he felt more comfortable out there with his pitches and trusting his stuff," said Robinson.

Ohka limited the Padres to Xavier Nady's RBI single in the second, Dave Hansen's run-scoring groundout in the third and Rondell White's solo homer in the sixth.

Mike Rivera hit a two-run homer for the Padres in the ninth off Expos reliever Dan Smith.



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