Expos 1, Mets 0

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NEW YORK (AP)—Javier Vazquez became the latest pitcher to shut down the New York Mets.

Backed by Todd Zeile’s homer, Vazquez struck out 12 as the Montreal Expos defeated New York 1-0 Thursday night.

“He was in control,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said.

Vazquez (13-11) allowed three hits in seven innings, outpitching Steve Trachsel to help the Expos retain their slim mathematical chance at the NL wild card.

The Mets are stumbling to the finish of a brutal season—they’ve lost five straight games and 13 of 14. They have only seven hits in their last two games.

“It’s the same thing every night,” manager Art Howe said. “We’re struggling to get anything going offensively. The guys are trying their best, we just can’t put the hits together.”

Trachsel allowed seven hits and struck out seven in eight innings on an extremely windy night with gusts of more than 30 mph.

“I had to keep stepping off the mound to wet my fingers so I could keep my grip on the ball,” he said.

Zeile, who helped New York reach the 2000 World Series, led off the fourth inning with a high drive down the left-field line on a 3-1 pitch—his fourth homer since joining the Expos on Aug. 20.

Despite the high wind gusts brought on by Hurricane Isabel, the ball stayed fair.

“I knew I hit the ball well, it was a question of what the wind was going to do,” Zeile said.

Vazquez walked none and struck out at least 10 for the ninth time this season.

“I threw a lot of strikes and I had all my pitches working tonight,” said Vazquez, who broke a personal three-game losing streak.

Scott Stewart and Chad Cordero each pitched a perfect inning to finish it, with Cordero earning his first career save.

“It was awesome. I was kind of surprised when they told me I was going in for the ninth,” said Cordero, whose father came in from California to watch the weekend series.

It was Montreal’s 10th shutout of the season. New York has been blanked nine times.

Trachsel (15-10) retired his first six batters on 23 pitches before Zeile’s homer. He finished with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Vazquez allowed a double by Roger Cedeno in the first inning, an infield single by Danny Garcia in the sixth and a single by Mike Piazza in the seventh.

Cedeno reached third on a groundout, but no other Mets got beyond second against Vazquez, who beat the Mets for the second time this season. He also defeated New York on July 23 at Montreal.

Vladimir Guerrero singled twice and walked against Trachsel.


Mets 3B Ty Wigginton left in the seventh inning with a bruised left hand he first injured last week in Montreal. … Vazquez had his 25th careergame with 10 or more strikeouts.

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