MONTREAL (AP)—Though it’s probably too late to salvage their season, the Montreal Expos are hitting—and winning.
Tony Batista homered and drove in two runs, and Nick Johnson hit a go-ahead RBI double in the fifth in leading Montreal to a 7-4 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday, the Expos’ sixth win in seven games.
“Batista got a couple of big hits for us tonight, Nick Johnson got a big hit for us, Schneider got one and Chavez had a very good night,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “They made things happen out there and it’s good to see because if you get that kind of production through the lineup, you’re going to score some runs.”
T.J. Tucker (1-1) allowed one hit in a scoreless two-thirds of an inning in relief, and Luis Ayala pitched a perfect eighth to extend his shutout streak to 23 1-3 innings. Chad Cordero got three outs for his 10th save.
“It feels great because it shows the starters confidence that if they don’t have a good day they can trust in us to go out there and get the job done,” Cordero said.
“I was thinking about giving him the night off, but he said he could go an inning so he gave me an inning and that’s all I needed of him, and he did a tremendous job again tonight,” Robinson said.
Trailing 4-3 after blowing a three-run lead in the fifth, Montreal tied it in the bottom half when Endy Chavez followed Brad Wilkerson’s leadoff walk with an RBI triple to chase Jae Seo (4-7).
Batista hit an RBI single as Montreal built a 3-0 lead in the fourth, and hit his third homer in four games to reach 60 RBIs in the seventh.
“Right now, we’re hitting pretty good,” Batista said. “We’re getting basehits at the right moment and the pitching has been doing a great job.”
Mike Piazza played first base and went 0-for-4 with a walk for the Mets in his first start since spraining his wrist on July 20.
New York’s Jose Reyes was replaced by pinch-runner David Wright after hitting an RBI single with one out in the fifth. Reyes sprained his right ankle when his foot landed awkwardly as he approached second base while legging out a double in the third.
“It’s not even close to last year,” Reyes said. “I couldn’t even walk, now I’m walking fine. Last year it was terrible, this is a lot better. When I hit the ball and tried to run to first, something cracked so I had to stop right away. Now I’m feeling better. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
Chavez hit a leadoff double in the fourth to spark a three-run outburst for Montreal. One out later, Chavez advanced to third when plate umpire called a balk against Seo.
Batista hit an RBI single to open the scoring and Johnson and Cabrera walked to load the bases.
Seo got Terrmel Sledge to fly to left before Schneider hit a two-run single to increase the Expos’ lead to 3-0.
“The balk is when things came apart for him,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “A lot of close pitches after that didn’t go his way and he lost his composure after that. He let that bother him and you just can’t do that. Instead of just one run, it turns into a three-run inning.”
The Mets came back with four in the fifth to take the lead, chasing starter Tony Armas Jr.
Vance Wilson drew a leadoff walk and advanced on Seo’s sacrifice. Reyes’ RBI single made it 3-1. Kaz Matsui singled to advance Wright, who ran for Reyes, and Piazza walked to load the bases.
Armas hit Cliff Floyd with a pitch to force in a run and Robinson replaced Armas with Roy Corcoran. Richard Hidalgo drew a bases-loaded walk to tie it and, one out later, Mike Cameron also walked to put the Mets up 4-3.
Tucker came in and struck out Wilson looking to end the threat.
Seo threw his shoes at a garbage can in the clubhouse after the game before throwing a chair as reporters looked on. … Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson was ejected by plate umpire Tony Randazzo during a mound visit with Yates in the fifth. … Ayala’s shutout streak is the longest by a Montreal reliever since John Wetteland pitched 25 consecutive scoreless innings in 1993. … Cordero tied the Expos’ rookie record for saves in a season set by Dale Murray, who had 10 saves and a 1.03 ERA in 32 games in 1974.