Expos' winning streak comes at Cards' expense

Sunday, May 9, 2004

MONTREAL -- Tomo Ohka finally got a little offensive support, and he made sure it was enough to win.

Ohka and Rocky Biddle combined on a three-hitter, and Jose Vidro homered and drove in two runs in leading the Montreal Expos over the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 on Saturday night for their season-high third straight win.

Ohka (1-5), who received just one unearned run of support while losing his first five starts this season, held the Cardinals to three hits in eight innings.

"He did an outstanding job out there tonight," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "He had a very good fastball and a very good breaking ball, and he just kept the hitters off balance all night long. I couldn't ask for anything better than what he gave me tonight."

Ohka allowed Albert Pujols' double in the fourth and a pair of singles to Hector Luna in the fifth and eighth. He struck out six and walked one.

Biddle pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in as many opportunities to complete Montreal's third shutout of the season.

Vidro hit an RBI double off Jason Marquis (1-3) in the third to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.

Montreal's second baseman added his fourth homer in the fifth, a drive just over the wall in the left-field corner on a 3-2 pitch.

"It was a pitch that was up and away," Marquis said. "Obviously it was a pitch he could drive. I didn't think he would get that good wood on it. It was a mistake pitch and they capitalized on it."

The Expos have won five of six after losing 20 of their first 25 games. Despite the win, Montreal is still off to a franchise-worst 10-21 start, matching the 1999 team.

"The main thing is I helped my team get a win out there and Ohka did an unbelievable job," Vidro said. "He was really on top of his game and I came up with two key hits. We've won two series in a row. It's going to take time but hopefully this is our moment. It was a good win tonight."

St. Louis fell to 9-5 on the road, including 2-3 on its current trip.

"We just need to come back and try to win a game," Pujols said. "Any time you face those guys and they shut you down for six or seven innings, you need to give credit. With our lineup we know that we can hit."

Rookie Terrmel Sledge went 2-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He's hitting .533 (16-for-30) during the streak, and has raised his average to .266 since beginning the season -- and his career -- with one hit in his first 34 at-bats (.030).

Marquis, who hasn't won in four starts since April 17, allowed seven hits and two runs in seven innings to drop his second straight decision.

The Cardinals played without shortstop Edgar Renteria. He left Friday's 4-2 loss in the sixth inning because of back spasms and is day to day.

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