Expos 7, Mets 4

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MONTREAL (AP)—The Montreal Expos feel right at home under Olympic Stadium’s big, blue roof.

Michael Barrett hit a two-run homer in his first game in nearly seven weeks, and Vladimir Guerrero had a three-run double to lead Montreal over the New York Mets 7-4 Friday night.

The Expos won their 10th in a row at Olympic Stadium and third straight overall. They are 25-47 on the road, but 37-17 in Montreal this season.

“I don’t know, I wish I could answer it for you,” manager Frank Robinson said when asked to explain the disparity. “If I could, I would bottle it and take some on the road. I don’t know, I guess they just enjoy playing inside. It’s mind-boggling to me. I can’t figure it out.”

The last-place Mets have dropped a season-high eight consecutive games.

Barrett, hitting just .207 when he was sidelined by a hip injury on July 27, hit his 10th homer of the season off Al Leiter (14-8) following Joe Vitiello’s one-out double in the sixth.

“Leiter’s tough. I’ve faced him so many times and that’s the first home run I’ve hit off him in my career,” Barrett said. “You can’t explain it. Sometimes things like that happen when you least expect them.”

Pinch-hitter Jose Vidro and Brad Wilkerson singled and, one out later, Orlando Cabrera singled to load the bases and chase Leiter.

Guerrero lined a 3-2 pitch from Orber Moreno to the wall in right-center, clearing the bases as the crowd of 10,701 roared with delight.

The Expos, who remained 7 1/2 games behind Florida in the NL wild-card race with 14 to play, hadn’t played in Montreal since completing a four-game sweep of Philadelphia on Aug. 28 that left them in a virtual tie for the wild-card lead.

After losing six straight in Florida and Philadelphia to fall out of contention, the Expos went 3-3 against the Marlins and the Chicago Cubs during a six-game “homestand” in Puerto Rico, the last of 22 home games moved there to increase revenue.

“We feel like our travel schedule and stuff has kind of affected us, but we still want to make the most of it,” Barrett said. “We want to finish strong this year, and next year try to be ready and be more prepared if this kind of thing happens again because I don’t think we knew what we were getting into.”

T.J. Tucker (1-2), originally scheduled to start Saturday, allowed six hits and two runs in six innings after Robinson decided to give Javier Vazquez an extra day of rest.

“I think everybody still thinks we have a chance,” Tucker said. “If you took those six games in Puerto Rico and put them in Montreal—everybody wants to play in Montreal. We didn’t vote or anything—there’s nothing to vote on— but the fans are great.”

Luis Ayala struck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save.

Ty Wigginton went 2-for-3 with two RBIs for New York.

“I thought we swung the bats better tonight, had some more opportunities tonight and got four runs out of it,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “Hopefully, we’re going to start getting the bats working a little better each night and give our pitchers something they can work with and not have to be too fine.”

The Mets opened the scoring in the fourth. Timo Perez hit a leadoff single and, one out later, advanced to third on Jason Phillips’ double before scoring on Wigginton’s grounder.

Wilkerson and Henry Mateo hit consecutive RBI doubles in the fifth to put Montreal up 2-1.

Barrett singled off Leiter to begin the fifth and advanced on Tucker’s sacrifice. Wilkerson’s hard-hit grounder to first bounced over Phillips for an RBI double, tying it at 1.

Mateo gave the Expos a 2-1 lead with a run-scoring double high off the left-field wall, missing his first major league homer when his drive struck no more than a foot from the top of the fence.

Wigginton’s two-out RBI single in the sixth drew the Mets even before Montreal’s five-run outburst in the bottom half made it 7-2.

New York scored two off Scott Stewart in the seventh on Roger Cedeno’s RBIgrounder and Raul Gonzalez’s pinch-hit single.

Notes

Actor Chris Noth of “Sex and the City” was at the game, pumping his arms in the air to acknowledge the crowd’s applause when he was shown on the video board. … Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay was in attendance as well. Earlier in the week, Tremblay urged citizens to show their support for the franchise by attending the team’s six-game homestand—the Expos’ last home games of the season. … Expos first baseman Wil Cordero left after the secondinning because of a left knee contusion.

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