Series: Game 3 of 3

Atlanta won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, May 31
Game 2: Tuesday, June 1
Game 3: Wednesday, June 2

Expos 8

(17-35, 8-18 away)

Braves 4

(26-26, 13-11 home)

    7:05 PM ET, June 2, 2004

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

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    MON 003300020 8 17 0
    ATL 101002000 4 7 4

    W: C. Vargas (4-3)

    L: M. Hampton (1-6)

    Diaz drives in three in win

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Einar Diaz gave the Montreal Expos and manager Frank Robinson something to smile about.

    Diaz, a backup catcher making only his 10th start, drove in his first three runs of the season, and Montreal beat the Atlanta Braves 8-4 Wednesday night to avoid a three-game sweep.

    "I didn't expect much from him," Robinson said. "He hasn't been playing much, but he hit tonight like he's been playing on a daily basis."

    It was only the third win in 13 games for the Expos, who have the worst record in the majors (17-35). Orlando Cabrera, Tony Batista and Juan Rivera each had three of Montreal's season-high 17 hits.

    The Braves, who fell back to .500, failed in their attempt to match their season high of three straight wins.

    The Expos had lost seven straight at Turner Field.

    Diaz had run-scoring singles in the third and fourth, and the Expos scored three runs in each inning off Mike Hampton (1-6). Diaz added a sacrifice fly in the eighth and finished 2-for-4, raising his average to .188.

    The three RBI matched his career high set last Aug. 3 with Texas against Cleveland. Diaz, who batted eighth, came to Montreal in a trade on April 3.

    "He gave us some production down there, something we needed," said Robinson, who did not indicate whether Diaz would take some playing time away from starter Brian Schneider.

    "But he got my attention tonight," Robinson said.

    Diaz admitted playing a limited role makes it difficult to hit.

    "I finally hit the ball a little better. I'll take it. It was a big game for me, but the win was bigger," he said. "It's tough, but I have to work with it. I'm just happy I did my job tonight. I got some good pitches to hit and got the runs in."

    Expos starter Claudio Vargas (4-3) pitched six innings. He allowed four hits and four runs, walked four and struck out two.

    Chad Bentz, Luis Ayala and Rocky Biddle combined for three shutout innings.

    The Braves scored in the first on a two-out single by J.D. Drew, who went to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI double by Johnny Estrada.

    Estrada leads the majors with a .537 average (22-for-41) with runners in scoring position.

    Atlanta added a run in the third without a hit. With two outs, Vargas walked Drew, Estrada and Andruw Jones, then hit Dewayne Wise in the foot with a pitch, forcing in Drew.

    Wise and Mike Hessman hit solo home runs in the sixth off Vargas to get the Braves to 6-4.

    Hampton threw 82 pitches before leaving in the fourth without getting an out. Jose Vidro led off with a single and went to second when second baseman Nick Green booted Batista's liner for an error. Cabrera walked, loading the bases, and Hampton walked Nick Johnson, forcing in a run and bringing in reliever Antonio Alfonseca.

    "I pretty much got my tail kicked," said Hampton, whose ERA rose to 5.49. "Tonight was pretty ugly. I don't point fingers except at the guy I see in the mirror every day."

    With Alfonseca on the mound, Rivera, who went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs, bounced into a force, scoring Batista, who was 3-for-6 and scored twice. Diaz added a two-out RBI single for a 6-2 lead.

    The Expos scored three times in the third on an RBI double by Cabrera and run-scoring singles by Rivera and Diaz. Montreal added two runs in the eighth off C.J. Nitkowski on an RBI double by Brad Wilkerson and Diaz's sacrifice fly.

    Drew robbed Diaz of an extra-base hit with a running, over-the-shoulder catch just inside the right-field line.

    Hampton escaped jams in the first two innings. He also left runners at second and third in the third after the Expos scored three times.

    Game notes

    Hampton threw 68 pitches and Vargas 61 in the first three innings. ... The Braves made four errors, one in each of the first four innings. The first three were harmless, but the fourth -- by Green -- led to two unearned runs. ... Montreal left a season-high 17 runners on. "That's a high number. We should have been able to put them away with that many baserunners, but I can't complain," Robinson said. ... The Expos had 27 baserunners. ... Batista was thrown out by Drew in the seventh trying to go from first to third on a single by Cabrera.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press