Wigginton makes most of Montreal muff

NEW YORK (AP) -- It was a routine play, the kind of play Montreal
first baseman Nick Johnson has made hundreds, maybe thousands of
times in his career.

This time, he botched it.

Johnson dropped an easy throw from third baseman Tony Batista
with two outs in the eighth inning Wednesday night, allowing Ty Wigginton to score the go-ahead run for the New York Mets in their
5-4 victory over the Expos.

"I just missed it," Johnson said. "It was right there. I just
dropped the ball."

It was just the opening Wigginton needed to bring home the
go-ahead run.

"Wiggy hustling all the way was big," Mets manager Art Howe

Shifted from third base to first when the Mets called up prized
prospect David Wright earlier in the day, Wigginton reached base
five times on three walks and two errors. He also made a nice scoop
at first to complete a game-ending double play.

For now, Wigginton probably will fill in at first base for
slugger Mike Piazza, who has a sprained left wrist and could miss
up to a week.

"I felt fine," said Wigginton, shrugging off the switch. "I
don't think it's the most difficult position to play. Being an
infielder, you know what target they're looking for."

And the last-play scoop?

"I guess the baseball gods were with me," he said.

Richard Hidalgo hit a three-run homer for the Mets, who blew a
4-0 lead when reliever Mike Stanton gave up a three-run shot to
Endy Chavez in the seventh.

But New York caught a break in the eighth.

Wigginton walked with two outs against Joe Horgan (3-1) and
advanced to second on Luis Ayala's wild pitch. Pinch-hitter Todd
Zeile hit a grounder to third, but Johnson just dropped Batista's
knee-high throw for Montreal's third error of the game.

Wigginton, running all the way, scored easily from second.

Orber Moreno (3-1) got two outs on just four pitches in the
eighth for the win. Braden Looper worked the ninth for his 20th
save in 23 opportunities, retiring Batista on a double-play
grounder to end it.

Wright started at third base and was hitless in four at-bats.

Montreal tied the score in the seventh on Chavez's first home
run in nearly two months.

Henry Mateo opened the inning with a pinch-hit single against
Mets starter Jae Seo and raced to third on a hit-and-run single by
Brad Wilkerson. That finished Seo. Stanton relieved, and Chavez hit
his second pitch for a three-run shot, tying the game. It was
Chavez's fifth homer of the year and first since May 30.

Two innings earlier, Wilkerson got Montreal on the scoreboard
with his 17th home run of the season.

The Mets opened the scoring in the third when Hidalgo hit a
three-run homer for the second night in a row.

Hidalgo connected against Montreal starter John Patterson after
Wigginton and Cliff Floyd walked with one out. Hidalgo hit
Patterson's next pitch for his 14th home run of the season and 10th
since being acquired from Houston on June 17.

The Mets made it 4-0 in the fourth when Seo doubled for his
second hit of the game and scored on a single by Kaz Matsui.

Patterson, making his second start for Montreal after spending
2½ months on the disabled list with a strained right groin, worked
four innings, allowing four runs and five hits. He walked four and
struck out four.

Game notes
Wigginton, hitting well lately, acknowledged he was a
little upset about being moved to make room for Wright. Both
players made sharp defensive plays in the first inning. ... An MRI
showed no structural damage in Piazza's wrist and the Mets chose
not to put him on the disabled list. Instead, they made roster room
for Wright by optioning reliever Dan Wheeler to Triple-A Norfolk.
... The Mets designated catcher Tom Wilson for assignment. ...
Montreal C Brian Schneider bent over the rail in front of the
Expos' dugout to catch Wright's foul popup in the second. ...
Hidalgo and Floyd made sparkling catches to save Seo from trouble
in the fifth. Hidalgo made a sliding grab on a drive by Chavez, and
Floyd went into the left-field corner for Terrmel Sledge's long fly
ball. ... Montreal's T.J. Tucker pitched a scoreless seventh,
extending his string of scoreless innings in July to 11.