New York (62-83) at Washington (74-73)

  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 12, 2003
  • TV: FSNY
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Montreal Expos return home from a lengthy road trip to play three games against the New York Mets at Olympic Stadium.

The Expos haven’t played in front of their hometown fans since beating Philadelphia 4-0 on Aug. 28.

Montreal has hit the skids since then, going 3-9 during a six-game road trip and six games in Puerto Rico.

The Expos’ swoon has likely cost them a shot at the postseason. Montreal trails NL wild-card leader Florida by 7 1/2 games.

Montreal left Puerto Rico on a winning note, thanks to pitcher Tomo Ohka.

The Japanese right-hander took a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning and Orlando Cabrera hit two doubles and a triple as the Expos held off the Cubs 3-2 on Thursday.

“He (Ohka) had an outstanding game,” manager Frank Robinson said. “He was very in command, the way he’s capable of doing it.”

The Expos took two out of three from the Cubs, and finished their 22 home games in Puerto Rico with 13 wins.

The Expos will send ace Javier Vazquez to the mound against Al Leiter, the Mets’ hottest pitcher.

Vazquez, a 27-year-old right-hander, has lost two straight starts after going 4-1 in August.

The Mets hope Leiter can help them end their season-high seven game losing streak. The veteran left-hander is 6-2 with a 1.39 ERA over his last 10 starts.

Errors by Mets third baseman Ty Wigginton and shortstop Jorge Velandia, and a nonchalant play by left fielder Raul Gonzalez led to the first five Florida runs in 7-3 loss on Wednesday.

“We didn’t play the kind of game we normally do defensively, and it cost us,” Mets manager Art Howe said.

STANDINGS: Mets - 5th place, 29 1/2 GB, NL East. Expos - 4th place, 18 1/2 GB, NL East.

METS PROBABLE STARTER: Leiter (14-7, 4.02 ERA). Leiter is 7-5 with a 3.97 ERA in 16 career starts against Montreal. The 37-year-old lefty failed to earn a decision after allowing two runs and four hits in six innings of the Mets’ 5-4 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.

EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Vazquez (12-10, 3.27 ERA). The right-hander allowed three runs, six hits and struck out seven in six innings of a 3-1 loss to Florida on Sunday. Vazquez is 7-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 17 starts against New York.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mets - Jason Phillips, .312 avg.; Cliff Floyd, 18 HRs and 68 RBIs; Wigginton, 67 runs; Jose Reyes and Roger Cedeno, 13 SBs. Expos - Jose Vidro, .320 avg.; Vladimir Guerrero, 23 HRs; Cabrera, 75 RBIs, 89 runs and 22 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Expos, 8-4.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Mets - C Vance Wilson is 4-for-11 with a homer against RHP Vazquez. … C Mike Piazza is batting .227 (17-for-75) with four home runs in 24 games since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 13. … RHP David Weathers is 0-2 with six saves, one blown save and 3.86 ERA since the All-Star break. Expos - RHP Vazquez has a 2.26 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break. … OF Guerrero is hitting .295 with 22 home runs in 89 career games against New York. … 2B Vidro is batting .346 (9-for-26) lifetime against LHP Leiter.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mets - 30-42 on the road; Expos - 49-26 at home.

INJURIES: Mets - SS Reyes (ankle), 15-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL; OF Floyd (Achilles), 60-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (elbow), 60-day DL. Expos - RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Claudio Vargas (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 60-day DL; 3B Fernando Tatis (chest), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Leiter NYY vs. T. Tucker WAS
15-9 Record 2-3
3.99 ERA 4.73
139 K 47
94 BB 20
1.49 WHIP 1.38