Montreal (79-76) at New York (63-90)

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  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Sat Sep 20, 2003
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The New York Mets look to end their offensive woes as they host the Montreal Expos in the third of a four-game set at Shea Stadium.

The Mets lost 7-1 to the Expos on Friday night, New York’s sixth straight loss and 14th in 15 games. First baseman Tony Clark drove in Mike Piazza with a two-out double in the fifth, but it was all the offense the Mets could muster.

Piazza, the only All-Star caliber offensive player in the Mets’ lineup on a daily basis, has been awful of late. He has a homerless streak of 65 at-bats, his longest such streak as a Met and the longest he’s endured since going 67 at-bats without a homer in 1998 during a 2 1/2 -week stretch in which he played his final four games for Los Angeles, five games for Florida and his first eight games for New York.

The longest stretch he’s gone without a homer is 72 at-bats in between his first and second career homers from September 1992 to April ’93.

Montreal won its second straight as Jose Vidro continued his solid hitting at Shea with a grand slam and a solo shot. The All-Star second baseman had his second multihomer game of the season—both at Shea Stadium.

The Expos, who have struggled away from Montreal this season, got a rare road win, improving to 8-24 on the road since the beginning of July.

The excessive travel required of the Expos this season might have hurt their chances of making the playoffs. Montreal, close to elimination from postseason contention, was 32-18 on May 25, then went 8-14 on a 25-day trip that included the team’s second homestand in Puerto Rico.

“We lost our drive and energy,” manager Frank Robinson said of the trip.

STANDINGS: Expos - 4th place, 17 1/2 GB, NL East. Mets - 5th place, 32 1/2 GB, NL East.

EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Livan Hernandez (15-9, 3.15 ERA). The right-hander was hit hard in his last outing, a 10-6 defeat at Atlanta on Monday night. Hernandez allowed seven runs—six earned—and five hits in 3 1-3 innings. Despite the short outing, Hernandez raised his season total to 217 1-3 innings, one-third of an inning more than he needed to trigger a contract option that guarantees him a $6.5 million salary next season. He’s made 17 career starts against the Mets in his career, going 6-7 with a 4.73 ERA.

METS PROBABLE STARTER: Aaron Heilman (2-6, 6.71 ERA). The rookie right-hander’s lack of command—35 walks in 56 1-3 innings—got him bounced from the rotation after losing to Atlanta on Aug. 27. He allowed three runs and five hits over three innings in a 4-1 defeat to the Braves that day, and has made just one relief appearance since, tossing 1 2-3 scoreless innings against the Phillies on Aug. 31. He faced the Expos on July 1, his second major league start, and pitched well allowing three runs and five hits over seven innings, but did not figure in the Mets’ 7-6 win.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Expos - Vladimir Guerrero, .332 avg. and 25 HRs; Guerrero and Cabrera, 79 RBIs; Orlando Cabrera, 94 runs and 24 SBs. Mets - Roger Cedeno, .270 avg.; Cliff Floyd, 18 HRs; Floyd and Wigginton, 68 RBIs; Wigginton, 69 runs; Jose Reyes and Cedeno, 13 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Expos, 12-5.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Expos - Right-handed batters are hitting just .237 against RHP Hernandez this season. … The Expos voted Friday against shifting a quarter of next season’s home games to Mexico or Puerto Rico. Games can’t be moved from Montreal without an agreement with the union. … The Expos have a winning record against only one NL East team—the Mets. Mets - OF Cedeno is 1-for-12 in his career against RHP Hernandez. … Opponents are hitting .296 against RHP Heilman this season. … INF Joe McEwing is 1-for-8 in his career against RHP Hernandez.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Expos - 27-47 on the road; Mets - 32-43 at home.

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

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Starting Pitchers

L. Hernandez MIL vs. A. Heilman TEX
15-10 Record 2-7
3.20 ERA 6.75
178 K 51
57 BB 41
1.21 WHIP 1.84