Mets 10, Expos 1

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MONTREAL (AP)—Eric Valent became the eighth player in Mets history to hit for the cycle, and Mike Cameron homered twice to lead New York to a 10-1 victory over the Montreal Expos on Thursday.

Valent went 4-for-4 with a walk and drove in three runs and scored three times in becoming the fourth player in the majors this season to hit a single, double, triple and home run in a game. He joined Milwaukee’s Chad Moeller, Pittsburgh’s Daryle Ward and Philadelphia’s David Bell in accomplishing the feat.

Valent singled following Cameron’s two-run homer off Rocky Biddle in the second, and doubled after Cameron’s solo shot put the Mets up 5-0 in the third. He tied his career high for hits with a two-run homer off a speaker against Sun-Woo Kim in the fifth. Valent’s RBI triple in the seventh off Roy Corcoran completed the Mets’ first cycle since John Olerud did it on Sept. 11, 1997— also against the Expos.

Al Leiter (7-3) allowed three hits and one run in six innings, improving to 6-1 in his last 10 starts. Leiter has a 2.18 ERA, and 1.00 in three starts against Montreal this season, allowing just two runs in 18 innings.

Mike Piazza hit a two-run single in the second to cap a four-run outburst, and Richard Hidalgo hit his 17th homer in the eighth off Claudio Vargas as the Mets reached double digits in runs for the second time in the series.

Biddle (2-5), who began the season as Montreal’s closer, allowed seven hits and five runs in three innings, his worst outing in four starts since moving into the rotation.

During batting practice, Cameron shook hands with an Expos fan who heckled the Mets earlier in the series and bet him that he would homer in the game. In his first at-bat, Cameron followed Ty Wigginton’s leadoff single in the second with his third homer of the series to put the Mets up 2-0.

As he returned to the dugout, Cameron pointed toward the fan, who was supposed to move from his front-row seat near the Mets’ on-deck circle to the bleachers.

The fan, who was wearing an Expos cap and identified himself only as George, was still there when Cameron came out of the dugout to get ready for his next at-bat in the third.

“I told him, ‘I’m going to go to the bleachers now,’ and he said, ‘No, don’t go. Watch this,”’ the fan said.

After Wigginton flied to left, Cameron slammed his fourth homer of the series to put the Mets up by five.

Leiter has the lowest ERA in the majors among pitchers with at least 10 starts. He has given up one run or fewer in five of his last six starts.

Notes

Valent is the third player to hit for the cycle against Montreal, and the second this season. … Mets 2B Jose Reyes didn’t start, and is day-to-day after spraining his right ankle in Wednesday’s 7-4 loss. … Expos LF Brad Wilkerson didn’t start because of tightness in his right hamstring. He pinch hit in the fifth and fouled out to Valent down the left-field line.

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