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Batista has solo homer, three RBIs

DENVER (AP) -- With the type of season Montreal has had so far,
it would have been easy to give up after two starters went out with
injuries.

But the Expos keep plugging along despite the setbacks.

Tony Batista hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning
and had three RBI, and the Expos overcame a scary injury to first
baseman Nick Johnson to beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 Friday night.

"With everything that's happened surrounding this team, they
don't let things get them down," Expos manager Frank Robinson
said. "They don't let things bother them, they stay focused on the
game and they go out there and give the best they possibly can. I
respect them an awful lot and admire them because you don't hear
them complaining about anything around here."

Johnson was injured in the third inning when a shot by Royce
Clayton took an odd bounce and hit him between his right cheek and
jaw. Johnson went down face first to the infield dirt and was
kicking his feet up and down as Clayton rounded first for a double.

Johnson lay on the field for about 10 minutes before being
rolled over, then was strapped to a stretcher and carted off the
field about five minutes later. He never lost consciousness and was
taken to a hospital for X-rays.

"I was scared to death," Batista said. "All I thought was I
prayed to God that he would be all right. I didn't stop praying
until I saw him get up."

Johnson's injury came about 10 minutes after starter Tony Armas
Jr. was hit on the right shin by J.D. Closser and had to leave the
game.

Armas, who gave up a solo homer to Todd Helton in the first
inning, suffered a bruise and isn't expected to miss his next
start.

Francis Beltran replaced him, giving up a run in the third
inning on a fielder's choice and another in the fourth on Aaron
Miles' sacrifice fly that made it 3-2.

But that was it for the Rockies.

Joey Eischen allowed two hits in two innings, Luis Ayala (5-9)
struck out four in two hitless innings, and Chad Cordero pitched
the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.

"They kept it together tonight," Robinson said. "There wasn't
a lot talking in the dugout tonight, kind of silent, but they kept
focused."

Colorado starter Jamey Wright put the Rockies in position for
the victory with six solid innings, leaving with a 3-2 lead, but
Brian Fuentes (1-3) couldn't hold it.

Brad Wilkerson led off the eighth inning with a double off
Fuentes, then barely beat Closser's throw at third on Endy Chavez's
sacrifice bunt. Wilkerson scored the tying run when Jose Vidro hit
into a double play and Batista hit the next pitch out to left for
his 21st homer.

But it wasn't just Fuentes' fault.

Colorado managed just eight hits and continued to have trouble
scoring runs -- 15 in the last six games -- and lose for the fifth
time in six games. The Rockies were swept in a doubleheader by the
New York Mets on Thursday.

"Offensively we came up short and we were short out of the
bullpen again, it was a combination," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle
said. "The game didn't have a whole lot of flow to it, but you
have to play. When you get opportunities to make plays you have to
do it."

Wright was coming off his worst outing since being called up on
July 22, allowing six runs in 4 2-3 innings in a loss to Pittsburgh
on Saturday. It looked like he was in for another tough night the
way this one started.

Wilkerson led off the game with a single, Chavez blooped a
double just over Helton at first and Batista knocked them both in
with a double to the gap in right-center.

But Wright righted himself after that, allowing just two hits
over the next five innings before being replaced for a pinch hitter
in sixth inning.

"After the second inning, I found a rhythm out there," Wright
said. "I didn't feel good the first couple of innings. When I went
out for the third, I settled down and tried to make them hit the
ball."

Game notes
The game's start was delayed an hour because of rain. ...
The Rockies designated RHP Vladimir Nunez for assignment before the
game to make room for rookie Chris Gissell on the 40-man roster.
... Friday's game was the 100th meeting between the teams. Colorado
leads the series 56-44. ... Batista's double in the first inning
was the 200th of his career. ... The game featured eight outs on
unassisted plays by first basemen.