NEW YORK (AP)—Maybe the Montreal Expos are learning how to win on the road. It just took a little too long.
“It was nice to win some of those tight battles,” said Todd Zeile, who joined the Expos on Aug. 20 after being released by the New York Yankees. “In the time that I’ve been here we’ve won some of those types of games at home, but we’ve been losing them on the road.”
The Mets matched a season high with their eighth consecutive loss. They have dropped 16 of 17 overall for the first time since 1982—when they struggled through a 15-game losing streak and finished last in the NL East under George Bamberger.
“It’s not a feeling that you want to get used to, but I’m not concerned about it,” manager Art Howe said. “We’re going to have a lot of changes. This is not the team we’re going to come with next year. I’m finding out quite a lot. Some of the kids just aren’t ready and some of the other guys aren’t in the right places.”
Tomo Ohka pitched seven sharp innings for the Expos, who swept a four-game series on the road for the first time since April 3-6, 1998, at Wrigley Field.
Montreal improved to 10-24 on the road since the beginning of July. The Expos stayed in the playoff chase longer than expected by going 52-29 at home this season—39-20 at Olympic Stadium and 13-9 in Puerto Rico.
Eliminated from the NL wild-card race when Florida beat Atlanta on Saturday night, Montreal (81-76) is assured at least a .500 record for the second year in a row.
“The main thing is that we’re just trying to finish strong,” Cordero said. “Knowing that we’re out of it right now, we just want to finish the way we started.”
“I pretty much screwed it up,” Duncan said. “I tried to go to the spot, but I lost it in the sun. … I saw it at the last second, I couldn’t get my glove up fast enough.”
Cordero doubled over Cedeno’s head for a 2-1 lead. Zeile and Michael Barrett added RBI singles.
Mets reliever Grant Roberts (0-2) gave up hits to all five batters he faced in the ninth.
Mike Piazza went 2-for-3 with two singles and has not homered in 73 at-bats, the longest drought of his career. His longest stretch without a home run had been 72 at-bats, between his first career homer in 1992 for Los Angeles and his next one the following season.
Piazza’s last home run came Aug. 27 off Atlanta’s Greg Maddux.
Cordero’s 16th homer snapped a scoreless tie with one out in the seventh. He sent a 2-1 pitch from Jae Weong Seo deep into the left-center bleachers for his second shot in two days.
That was all Montreal could muster against Seo, who set a career high with eight strikeouts. He allowed five hits in 7 1-3 innings.
“It’s frustrating because you want the team to win,” Seo said through a translator. “On a personal level, I’m excited with the way I pitched.”
Poor defense by the Expos helped the Mets tie it in the seventh. Timo Perez led off with a single and moved up on an error by Cordero, who couldn’t catch Ohka’s pickoff throw to first. Perez later scored on a wild pitch.
Ohka gave up just an unearned run and four hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking one. He’s allowed four earned runs in his last 22 innings, but has just one win in his past 10 starts.
“He deserved to win the ballgame,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said.“We just didn’t give him enough offense while he was in the game.”
The Expos won the season series 14-5. … It was Montreal’s fourth four-game sweep this season, including another one over the Mets in Puerto Rico in April. … Mets 1B Jason Phillips sat out after aggravating his sore lefthamstring while pinch-hitting Saturday.