Sun, Sep 28, 2003 - Page 24 News List

Tomo Ohka makes big adjustments

AP , CINCINNATI, OHIO

Tomo Ohka says it would take too long to explain all of the changes he's made to spark his recent turnaround.

Ohka pitched a five-hitter and Brad Wilkerson homered as the Montreal Expos beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 Friday night.

Ohka (10-12) gave up only one unearned run in his second complete game of the season. He walked none and struck out three while throwing just 91 pitches, 68 of them for strikes.

The right-hander has allowed just four earned runs in 31 innings over his last four starts.

"I'm not pitching the same way I pitched last year," Ohka said through an interpreter. "It's a bunch of little things. It would take a couple of hours to explain it all."

Said manager Frank Robinson: "He was very good. He should've had a shutout."

The Reds lost for the third time in four games. The unearned run they scored on Friday was their only run in the three losses.

"I wasn't seeing the ball well," said Cincinnati leadoff hitter Ryan Freel, whose had an infield single.

"He was deceiving and quick. His ball gets up on you. I was having hard time picking up his release point. He had us swinging the bat early and making early outs," he said. "He was getting his slider and changeup over for strikes. If you can do that, you're going to be effective."

Robinson agreed.

"That comes from inexperience, with kids not seeing Ohka and not seeing his split-finger," Robinson said. "I would like to say it was 75 percent Ohka and 25 percent the Reds."

The Expos' 82nd victory guaranteed them a second straight winning season under Robinson. Montreal had not posted consecutive years over .500 since 1992-94.

Before Montreal's first game at Great American Ball Park, a bronze statue of Robinson was unveiled outside the stadium. Robinson began his Hall of Fame career as an outfielder for the Reds.

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