Series: Game 1 of 3

Montreal leads 1-0 (as of 9/20)

Game 1: Friday, September 20
Montreal 6Final
New York 1
Game 2: Saturday, September 21
Montreal 3Final
in 11
New York 6
Game 3: Sunday, September 22
Montreal 5Final
New York 1

Expos 6


Mets 1

(73-80, 36-39 home)

    7:10 PM ET, September 20, 2002

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    MON 001031010 6 - -
    NYM 010000000 1 - -

    W: T. Armas (11-12)

    L: J. Thomson (9-13)

    Guerrero moves closer to obtaining 40-40 season

    NEW YORK (AP) -- With Vladimir Guerrero chasing a 40-40 season, Mike Piazza and the New York Mets didn't have much chance to keep him from running all over the basepaths.

    Vladimir Guerrero

    Guerrero had three steals and Tony Armas Jr. pitched into the eighth inning as the Montreal Expos won their seventh straight game Friday night with a 6-1 victory over the Mets.

    Taking advantage of poor-throwing catcher Piazza and starter John Thomson (9-13), Guerrero pushed his season total to 39 stolen bases. He has 37 homers, leaving him well within range of the rare 40-40 mark.

    "It's just a coincidence that we were playing them,'' Guerrero said through a translator. "We don't have that many games and we have to do whatever we can. We're going to have to wait, because the home runs are not there yet.''

    Before the game, Mets general manager Steve Phillips denied there is widespread drug use on the team following a report that at least seven players smoked marijuana this season.

    "In my opinion, there is not rampant drug use on our major league roster,'' Phillips said.

    Guerrero went 2-for-3 with two intentional walks, an RBI and a run scored, giving him 100 runs for the fifth time -- a team record. The Expos, looking to finish second in the NL East, won eight in a row earlier this season.

    "I hope before it's over, he gets it,'' Montreal manager Frank Robinson said of Guerrero. "It's a great achievement. He deserves it. He plays every day. He plays hard.''

    New York had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Mets had won six straight at Shea Stadium following an NL-record 15-game home losing skid.

    Armas (11-12) gave up nine hits in seven-plus innings to improve to 3-0 in his last four starts.

    "He's got a big league arm,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "Exploding fastball and a disappearing slider.''

    The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the second when Edgardo Alfonzo led off with a bloop double and scored on Raul Gonzalez's single.

    Guerrero tied it with an RBI single in the third.

    More bad defense by the Mets helped the Expos take the lead in the fifth. Endy Chavez led off with a single and went to second when the ball kicked off right fielder Jeromy Burnitz's knee for an error.

    With runners at first and third, first baseman Mo Vaughn booted Matt Cepicky's grounder for another error that allowed Chavez to score.

    "We're going through so much all the way around, to wake up in the morning and see that, too, was kind of crazy,'' Vaughn said. "I can't honestly say that was a distraction. I know what I have to work on. I don't make any excuses.''

    Orlando Cabrera hit an RBI single, and Michael Barrett added a run-scoring double down the third-base line to make it 4-1.

    "We had plays we could make, and if we make them they probably don't score,'' Valentine said. "We gave them too many outs.''

    Vaughn made two of three errors by the Mets, who lead the majors with 140.

    "I'm not shocked. I've seen them all,'' Valentine said.

    Jamey Carroll tripled with one out in the sixth, and Guerrero was intentionally walked. Mets reliever Pat Strange, worried that Guerrero would take off again, balked on a pickoff attempt, allowing Carroll to score.

    Batting in front of Guerrero, Carroll went 3-for-4 with an RBI single in the eighth and two runs scored. He's hitting .424 since being called up from Triple-A Ottawa on Sept. 10.

    "Hitting in front of these guys, obviously I'm going to get some good pitches to hit, and it's gone better than I would have hoped coming up to this level,'' Carroll said.

    Thomson allowed four runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in five innings. He is 2-5 in eight starts for the Mets since being acquired in a trade with Colorado on July 31.

    Game notes

    The Expos have three winning streaks of at least six games this season. Last year, their best string was four games. ... Armas does not have a complete game in 80 career starts. ... Montreal improved to 4-0 on a six-game road trip, its first winning trip since April 5-14. ... Mets RHP David Weathers began serving a two-game suspension for hitting a batter with a pitch in Colorado.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press