- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 3, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) — Bench coach Eddie Rodriguez got the opportunity to be manager for a day in the Montreal Expos’ next-to-last game before moving to Washington, and the task was simple.

“You get where you want to match up the right guys against people in the right spots, that’s the big thing,” Rodriguez said as he sat behind the manager’s desk in the Expos’ clubhouse while Frank Robinson listened nearby.

Brad Wilkerson’s three-run homer in the ninth inning led the Expos to a 6-3 victory over the New York Mets last night and made Rodriguez a winner.

“My first one,” he said proudly. “It was a great learning experience.”

Wilkerson doubled and scored in the first inning, doubled again in the fifth and then hit his 32nd homer of the season with two men on to win it in the ninth.

“Anytime you win a ballgame like that, it always feels good,” he said. “On top of that, it could be the last home run [for the Expos] and that would be a special moment to have that happen.”

Wilkerson connected against reliever Braden Looper (2-5) after an error by Kaz Matsui — making his second start at second base — and a walk to pinch-hitter Ryan Church.

Juan Rivera and Valentino Pascucci also homered for the Expos, who have won the first two games of the series against the Mets. The team is relocating following the season after 36 years in Montreal.

Mike Cameron hit his career-high 30th homer for the Mets.

“It’s a nice accomplishment, considering a lot of the things I went through during the course of the season with injuries and illness,” Cameron said.

New York tied it at 3 in the eighth when Matsui beat out an infield single and David Wright followed with a double off the right-field wall. Mike Piazza was walked intentionally and Gerald Williams reached on shortstop Maicer Izturis’ throwing error, which allowed Matsui to score.

Chad Cordero (7-3) came in and retired Cameron and Victor Diaz, keeping it tied at 3 and setting the stage for Wilkerson’s winning homer into the left-field bullpen.

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