06/24/2003 4:36 PM ET
Pirates no match for Wilkerson
Expos outfielder goes for cycle and drives in four runs
MONTREAL -- Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon's growing frustration over the Pirates' recent play boiled over following their 6-4 loss to the Expos on Tuesday afternoon.
By Arpon Basu / MLB.com
"Sometimes the onus has got to be on (the players)," McClendon shouted at reporters at the end of a profanity-laced vent.
When asked if he plans on making any changes to his lineup for Wednesday afternoon's series finale, McClendon said, "I don't plan on changing (anything), the players we've got are the players we've got and they'll be out there tomorrow."
McClendon ended the press conference at that point, hurling a file tray that was sitting on his desk against a nearby wall before storming out of the office, still screaming. Once he was out in the vicinity of the
locker room, McClendon shouted instructions to reporters to ask his players why the Pirates lost.
Bucs starter Jeff D'Amico fell victim to some shaky defense and suspect relief pitching, and Expos left-fielder Brad Wilkerson became the first player this year to hit for the cycle in front of 5,872 fans at Olympic
Pirates reliever Salomon Torres provided the answer McClendon was seeking.
"(D'Amico) pitched great, he had everything going," Torres said. "It was
just one of those days. We did not support him enough as far as relievers
are concerned. We did not do our job, that's it."
D'Amico (5-8) left the game with a 1-0 lead with two away in the sixth and
men on first and second. With the lefty-hitting Wilkerson -- who already had
a bunt single and a double off D'Amico -- coming to the plate, McClendon
called on lefty reliever Joe Beimel to shut the door.
But Beimel promptly surrendered a bases-clearing triple to Wilkerson -- who
entered the game hitting .373 against left-handed pitching versus .267
against righties -- that gave Montreal a 2-1 lead. After issuing an
intentional walk to first-baseman Wil Cordero, Beimel then allowed rookie
Ron Calloway to drive Wilkerson in with a bloop double to right-center.
D'Amico took his first loss in five career starts against Montreal, though
he did nothing to deserve it. He allowed two unearned runs -- thanks to a
Jack Wilson throwing error leading off the pivotal sixth inning -- on only
four hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out two and walked two, one
"I had typical stuff, curveballs, change-ups, try and locate, that was
pretty much it," D'Amico said of his performance.
It was the second consecutive game the Bucs wasted a nice outing by one of their starting pitchers. On Monday, Jeff Suppan was stingy in allowing only
three runs in seven innings, but still lost 3-0.
This time, it was Japanese right-hander Tomo Ohka (6-7) who kept the Pirates
bats at bay, throwing six innings and allowing one run on four hits with
four strikeouts to beat Pittsburgh for the second time in less than a week.
He allowed only one earned run on six hits in six innings of a 5-2 Expos
win in Pittsburgh last Thursday. Rocky Biddle pitched the ninth for his 21st
save in 24 chances.
Brian Giles went 2-for-3 with a walk and has now reached base safely in 32 of his last 33 games, while Jason Kendall went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
The Bucs broke a 16-inning shutout streak against the Expos in the top of the sixth when Kenny Lofton led off with a double to center and scored on a Kendall single to right one batter later for a 1-0 Pirates lead.
Giles followed with another single to put men at first and second with no outs, but Aramis Ramirez hit into a 6-4-3 double play and after an intentional
walk to Matt Stairs, Reggie Sanders hit into a fielder's choice to end the
"We got three hits in a row and we only scored one run, which kind of
hurts," Stairs said. "But give (Ohka) some credit, he threw a good pitch
and got the double play ball."
Wilson got the bottom of the sixth off to a bad start when his throw to first on an Endy Chavez grounder pulled Stairs off the bag. Edwards Guzman followed with a fielder's choice to force Chavez, and Orlando Cabrera
struck out looking before Jose Vidro drew a walk to end D'Amico's afternoon.
Montreal tacked on some insurance in the seventh when Cabrera hit a two-out single off Torres before Vidro followed with an RBI double off the
wall in center. Wilkerson came up next and knocked a 1-2 fastball from
Torres over the wall in dead center for his ninth homer to give Montreal a
6-1 lead, becoming the fifth player in Expos history to hit for the cycle.
"He hit a good pitch," Torres said. "It was kind of down, maybe the location
wasn't the best. It could have been a better location. I made a mistake
there and I paid for it."
Wilkerson became the first player to hit for the cycle against the Pirates
since Jeff Kent accomplished the feat with San Francisco on May 3, 1999.
Pittsburgh got two back in the eighth when Kendall led off with a double to
center and Giles followed with a walk. Ramirez popped out to first before
pinch-hitter Craig Wilson singled to right to score Kendall and move Giles
to third. Pinch-hitter Adam Hyzdu then hit into a fielder's choice to score
Kendall drove Carlos Rivera home from second with a two-out single in the
ninth to make it 6-4.
Arpon Basu is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.