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Loss Is an Untimely One for Mercedes

April 10, 1998| From Associated Press

Maybe Jose Mercedes should have just stayed home.

First, he showed up at County Stadium so late that Manager Phil Garner scratched him as Milwaukee's starting pitcher.

Then, when he finally got in the game, he forgot how many outs there were.

Mercedes' carelessness helped the Montreal Expos get their first win of the season Thursday, 6-5, over the Brewers.

Milwaukee's trouble began when Mercedes believed the game started at 5:05 PDT, an hour after it actually did, and arrived at only minutes before game time.

But Mercedes' misdeeds weren't over.

After warming up in the bullpen, Mercedes replaced emergency starter Steve Woodard after four innings, with the Brewers ahead, 3-1.

Mercedes forgot his batting helmet when he stepped on deck in the sixth. Then, after being hit by a pitch and advancing to second base, he forgot how many outs there were and sprinted around third on Jeff Cirillo's fly ball. Trouble was, there was only one out.

Garner was furious with Mercedes' tardiness and fined the right-hander.

"I had an FBI guy calling police to find out where he was," Garner said. "I thought maybe he was on the side of the road. I left the door open that something might have happened. Maybe he comes in, he was in a car wreck."

Brewer General Manager Sal Bando arrived at the ballpark 20 minutes before the first pitch and realized he was following Mercedes' car down a hill that leads into the players' parking lot.

"I thought, 'Boy, I hope he doesn't think it's a 7:05 game,' " Bando said. "But even at that, he's late. Starting pitchers are supposed to arrive two hours before game time."

Mercedes refused to say how big the fine was but called it appropriate.

"I deserve it," Mercedes said. "I let my teammates down. It won't happen again."

The Expos (1-7) began the night as the only winless team in the majors.

St. Louis 7, Colorado 5--Mark McGwire completed a homerless series at Coors Field, but Tom Lampkin carried the Cardinals to a sweep with a home run and four RBIs at Denver.

Lampkin keyed a five-run fourth inning with a three-run homer. Colorado, which wasted a 4-0 lead, lost its fifth consecutive game after a 4-1 start.

With the score tied, 5-5, in the eighth inning, Ray Lankford singled and scored on Gary Gaetti's two-out double off Curtis Leskanic. Lampkin added an RBI single.

Mike Busby pitched two innings for the victory, and Jeff Brantley got three outs for his first save.

San Diego 6, Cincinnati 2--Ken Caminiti hit a 457-foot, three-run homer into the second deck to cap a six-run rally in the seventh inning as the Padres completed a three-game sweep of Cincinnati at San Diego.

San Diego has won fourth games in a row and five of six from the Reds this season. At 7-2, the Padres are off to the second-best start in franchise history. The best was 10-2 in 1984, the year they went to the World Series.

Mark Langston and four relievers combined on an eight-hitter, with the win going to reliever Brian Boehringer.

Chicago 8, New York 7--Steve Trachsel pitched 5 2/3 innings for his second victory and again helped himself at the plate as the Cubs took a seven-run lead and held off the Mets at Chicago.

Chicago, winless in its first 14 games last year, improved to 7-2. The Cubs didn't get their seventh win last season until May 3, in their 28th game.

Trachsel gave up four runs--three earned--and six hits. He also singled during a four-run second inning and walked during a three-run fourth. In his first start, Trachsel had three RBIs and two hits.

Rod Beck pitched the ninth for his fifth save in five chances, giving up an RBI double to Brian McRae and a run-scoring groundout to Butch Huskey. With two outs and the potential tying run on third base, Rey Ordonez grounded out.

Atlanta 4, Pittsburgh 3--Ryan Klesko homered in his first two at-bats and drove in three runs for the Braves at Pittsburgh.

Klesko hit a solo shot to right off Jon Lieber leading off the second inning, then added a two-run, opposite-field drive to left field after Andres Galarraga's leadoff walk to make the score 4-0 in the fourth.

Klesko was the third Atlanta player to hit two homers in a game in the series, following Chipper Jones on Tuesday and Galarraga on Wednesday.

Kevin Millwood, trying to secure his role as the No. 5 starter, had a five-hit shutout going until tiring in a three-run seventh.

Florida at Philadelphia--Steady rain forced the postponement of Thursday night's game, which will be made up July 24 as part of a twi-night doubleheader.

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