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Mets end Expos' seven-game winning streak

9/22/2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Mets are excited about Esix Snead's
rare speed. He showed them some surprising pop in his bat, too.

Snead hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning to give the Mets
a 6-3 victory over Montreal on Saturday night, snapping the Expos'
seven-game winning streak.

"It's pretty exhilarating,'' Snead said. "I'm pretty psyched.
I was just hoping and praying that it would get out. Go, go, please
get out.''

Known as a speedster without much power in the minors, Snead
pumped his fist as he rounded first base and was mobbed by
teammates at home plate. He made up for a costly baserunning
mistake -- he was picked off first as a pinch-runner with the Mets
trailing by one in the eighth.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Snead stole 432 bases and hit only
eight homers in five minor league seasons before being called up
from Double-A Binghamton on Sept. 2.

"Everyone was as excited as Esix was, too,'' New York manager
Bobby Valentine said. "We got him this year because he had that
tool -- speed, but he never really hit. We had him in spring
training and he took to a hitting philosophy that seemed to work
for him. He's a pretty good player.''

Snead got the ball back as a souvenir and plans to give it to
his girlfriend, who was at the game.

"She was good luck, so she gets it,'' he said.

Mo Vaughn hit his 25th homer for the Mets, who tied it in the
ninth on first baseman Andres Galarraga's two-out throwing error.

Joe McEwing was hit by a pitch in the 11th, and Roger Cedeno
walked with two outs. Snead, who got his first career hit with a
leadoff single in the 10th, drove an 0-1 pitch from Dan Smith (1-1)
over the right-field fence to win it.

"I think I hung a breaking ball,'' Smith said. "To his good
fortune he hit it in their bullpen so he can keep the ball. We
really didn't have a whole lot on him. He'll remember it for his
whole life and I'll remember it for my whole life, that's just the
way it goes.''

Armando Benitez (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the
victory. New York has won four of five.

Endy Chavez hit his first career home run for the Expos and went
4-for-5 with two runs scored.

Montreal's winning streak came one short of matching a season
high. The Expos won eight in a row June 12-21.

Edgardo Alfonzo drew a leadoff walk in the ninth from Scott
Stewart and stole second as pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton struck out.

Vance Wilson followed with a single to right off Tim Drew, but
Alfonzo hesitated and was held at third rather than test Vladimir
Guerrero's strong throwing arm.

One out later, pinch-hitter Brady Clark hit a slow roller to the
right side. The 41-year-old Galarraga, who entered as a
pinch-hitter in the ninth, backhanded the ball and had an easy toss
to second to end it.

But the two-time Gold Glove winner threw high and into left
field, allowing Alfonzo to score and tie it at 3.

"I was trying to not hit the runner and I threw it too high,''
Galarraga said. "It's kind of tough. You have to make a quick
decision. The only problem with that play is that the runner is in
the way.''

Chavez led off the game with a double and scored on Guerrero's
groundout. Michael Barrett's sacrifice fly in the fifth made it
2-0.

Chavez connected off Pedro Astacio in the sixth. The International League batting champion at Triple-A Ottawa, Chavez
has an 11-game hitting streak.

Astacio, New York's best pitcher for most of the season, is 1-6
with a 10.13 ERA in his last eight starts. He went seven innings,
allowing three runs and four hits.

"It felt good. I haven't gone seven innings in like a month and
a half,'' Astacio said. "It was good to give the team a chance to
win.''

Astacio surpassed 185 innings pitched for the season, an
important plateau in his contract. An incentive kicks in that
guarantees him a $1 million bonus this year and a $6.5 million
salary next year.

Vaughn homered into the second deck in right field in the sixth
to put the Mets on the board. Wilson doubled and scored on
McEwing's single to cut it to 3-2 in the seventh.

Montreal starter Javier Vazquez gave up two runs and eight hits
in seven innings.

Game notes
Mike Piazza did not start for New York but flied out in the
seventh as a pinch hitter. ... Expos RHP Masato Yoshii, sidelined
by a torn labrum in his left shoulder, will miss the rest of the
season. He is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles. ...
2B Jose Vidro was not with the Expos because of personal reasons.
The team hopes to have him back Sunday. ... Expos SS Orlando
Cabrera was a late scratch from the starting lineup.