TORONTO (AP)—The Toronto Blue Jays didn’t need their top three hitters against the majors’ worst team.
Toronto took advantage of a season-high three errors by Montreal, which entered with the fewest errors in the majors, leading to four unearned runs.
The Blue Jays won despite missing first baseman Carlos Delgado, center fielder Vernon Wells and left fielder Frank Catalanotto, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a strained right groin.
“It’s huge for us to get off to a good start,” said Johnson, a second-year outfielder, who has been forced to bat third because of the injuries. “We had good success offensively and Batista was huge for us.”
Jose Vidro homered for Expos, who have the worst record in the majors at 24-48.
Batista (6-5) allowed three runs on eight hits, while striking out two and walking three. He has a 1.94 ERA in June.
“I thought it was a gutsy performance. He wasn’t carrying his real good stuff today,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. “He was having a hard time harnessing it, and on top of that, he was battling a blister.”
Montreal might be playing its last series in Toronto, although major league baseball is pushing back its decision on where to relocate the Expos until after the All-Star break.
Montreal’s Nick Johnson hit an RBI single in the first, but Johnson’s error in the second led to an unearned run. Johnson, the first baseman, bobbled a ball for an error—allowing to Eric Hinske to reach. Chris Gomez drove in Hinske with an RBI single off Scott Downs (0-1).
Shortstop Orlando Cabrera had a ball skip past him for an error, allowing Gomez to score. Menechino followed with an RBI single, giving Toronto a 3-1 lead.
“You don’t like to see that, but it happens,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said of the errors. “Hopefully, it’s out of our system for a while.”
The Blue Jays added four runs in the third on Gomez’s run-scoring single, Phelps’ two-run single and center fielder Endy Chavez’s throwing error.
Vidro homered off Batista in the fourth, but Menechino and Johnson homered off Claudio Vargas in the bottom half to give Toronto a 9-2 lead.
Downs, promoted from Triple-A Edmonton on Friday, allowed seven runs—three earned—on six hits in 2 2-3 innings. Downs is the first left-hander to startfor Montreal since his last start—August 10, 2003, at Houston.
Catalanotto has already missed 23 games with the injury this season, and it’s the second time he’s been placed on the DL because of it. He re-injured the groin June 17, and hasn’t played since. Delgado has been out since May 30 with a strained right ribcage muscle, while Wells has been sidelined since June 16 with a strained right calf. … Johnson, Toronto’s center fielder, robbed Tony Batista of extra bases with a leaping grab at the wall in the fourth. … The last left-hander to earn a win for Montreal wasMatt Blank on June 21, 2001, against the New York Mets.