Series: Game 3 of 3

Montreal won 2-1

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 5

(79-77, 34-47 away)

Mets 1

(74-81, 37-40 home)

    1:10 PM ET, September 22, 2002

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

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    MON 020021000 5 - -
    NYM 000000010 1 - -

    W: Z. Day (4-1)

    L: A. Leiter (13-12)

    Expos clinch first winning season since 1996

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Vladimir Guerrero neared a personal milestone and moved the Montreal Expos a step closer to a team one as well.

    Guerrero closed in on joining the 40-40 club, hitting his 38th homer and stealing his 40th base Sunday to lead Montreal to a 5-1 victory over the New York Mets.

    "Every year he gets better and better,'' teammate Michael Barrett said. "He's consistently an amazing player. Only a handful of guys have that kind of talent.''

    Endy Chavez extended his hitting streak to 12 games and Barrett added an RBI double for the Expos (79-77), who have won eight of nine and need three wins in their final six games to guarantee their first winning season since 1996.

    "It's been a while since this organization finished on the positive side,'' manager Frank Robinson said. "It's important to us. It might not be important to other people, but it's a big deal to this ballclub.''

    Sun-Woo Kim left after 4 1-3 scoreless innings -- two outs shy of his first win with Montreal -- with a cramp in his right leg.

    Zach Day (4-1) allowed one unearned run and two hits in 4 2-3 scoreless innings for the win. Day, who has struggled with his control this season, only walked one batter.

    "He did exactly what we needed him to,'' Robinson said. "He got into a groove, threw strikes and made them swing the bats. With a five-run lead, that's what you need to do.''

    The loss assured the last-place Mets (74-81) of their first non-winning year since 1996, when manager Bobby Valentine took over at the end of a 71-91 season.

    Guerrero walked and stole a base in the third inning and hit a two-run homer in the fifth against Al Leiter (13-12).

    Guerrero is racing Alfonso Soriano of the Yankees to become the fourth 40-40 player in history, joining Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Jose Canseco. Soriano is one homer shy of the mark.

    The Expos got on board in the second on Barrett's double. It looked like Leiter would get of the inning when he got Kim to hit a grounder to shortstop Rey Ordonez with two outs and runners on first and third.

    Ordonez charged the slow roller and it got under his glove for an error, allowing a run to score. Ordonez, a three-time Gold Glove winner, made another error in the seventh, giving him 19 this season -- his most since committing 27 as a rookie in 1996.

    After Jamey Carroll singled to lead off the fifth, Guerrero homered to left field for just his third hit in 32 career at-bats against Leiter. Guerrero has only three homers in his past 29 games as he nears the 40-homer mark.

    "I think he's trying a little too hard,'' Robinson said. "If he relaxes it will happen. He's so strong and powerful.''

    Leiter struggled once again pitching during the day, dropping to 5-6 with a 5.45 ERA. At night, he's 8-6 with a 1.94 ERA.

    "I think it takes me out of my comfort level and routine I guess,'' he said. "I think it just feels different.''

    Kim was cruising to his first win when he suddenly cramped up after Roberto Alomar fouled off a 3-1 pitch.

    Trainers came out to attend to Kim, who was replaced by Day. Kim allowed five hits and three walks.

    The Expos added a run in the sixth on Carroll's RBI double off Grant Roberts.

    Leiter allowed four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in five innings.

    "I didn't think he had that extra pop,'' Valentine said. "It happens late in the season sometimes. But he's pitched some really great games late in the season, too.''

    Game notes

    Montreal once again played without SS Orlando Cabrera and 2B Jose Vidro. Cabrera was late to the park Saturday and was benched by Robinson. Vidro left the team Friday to attend to personal business and returned during the game. ... The Mets lead the majors with 142 errors. ... Leiter ran to first after ball three in the second inning, thinking he had walked. When 1B Andres Galarraga told him the count was still 3-2, Leiter put his hands on his helmet in embarrassment. Leiter ended up reaching first when he hit an infield single. ... Guerrero is the first Expo since Delino DeShields and Marquis Grissom in 1993 to steal 40 bases in a year. ... Mets 1B Mo Vaughn was scratched with a sore left knee.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press