Series: Game 1 of 4

New York leads 1-0 (as of 9/12)

Game 1: Thursday, September 12
New York 8Final
Montreal 2
Game 2: Friday, September 13
New York 8Final
Montreal 11
Game 3: Saturday, September 14
New York 4Final
Montreal 5
Game 4: Sunday, September 15
New York 1Final
Montreal 10

Mets 8

(70-76, 37-38 away)

Expos 2

(71-76, 42-30 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 12, 2002

    Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec 

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    NYM 010200203 8 - -
    MON 000002000 2 - -

    W: J. Middlebrook (2-3)

    L: T. Ohka (13-8)

    Mets continue winning ways with rout of Expos

    MONTREAL (AP) -- Jeromy Burnitz and the New York Mets haven't written off a tough 2002 season just yet.

    Jeromy Burnitz

    Burnitz homered twice and had three RBI and Mo Vaughn hit a two-run homer as Jason Middlebrook won his New York debut in the Mets' 8-2 victory over the Montreal Expos on Thursday night.

    Burnitz, who is hitting .214 after going 2-for-4 in the game, has five homers in his last eight games.

    "It's been a rough year,'' Burnitz said. "I've been searching ever since May hit, but here lately definitely I've had a little bit more of a consistent approach and things are going better. I've been working a lot and feeling a lot better.''

    New York has won nine of 11 after losing 17 of 20.

    A late addition to the starting lineup, Vaughn hit his 22nd homer of the season off Tomo Ohka (13-8) following Roberto Alomar's one-out single in the fourth to put the Mets up 3-0.

    Vaughn, who had missed six straight starts because of a sprained left wrist, was inserted into the cleanup spot when he pronounced himself fit to play after taking batting practice before the game.

    "I had a solid BP and was able to play today so I'm glad,'' Vaughn said. "I know what I'm doing out there. Five days off, you can swing and do your drills and not lose too much.''

    Burnitz hit his 16th homer following Edgardo Alfonzo's one-out single in the seventh to chase Ohka.

    Burnitz and Jason Phillips hit consecutive homers in the ninth off reliever T.J. Tucker. It was Phillips' first career homer.

    Middlebrook (2-3), acquired from San Diego on July 31, retired 15 straight in his Mets' debut after allowing Endy Chavez's leadoff single and a walk to Jose Vidro in the first.

    After both runners advanced when he balked with a 1-2 count on Vladimir Guerrero, Middlebrook struck out the side to escape the jam.

    "It was a very impressive beginning,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine said.

    Middlebrook walked Ohka to lead off the sixth and Chavez hit an RBI triple to the right-field corner as Ohka scored Montreal's first run. Vidro followed with a run-scoring single to chase Middlebrook and draw Montreal within 3-2.

    "I felt like I settled down once I got through the first,'' Middlebrook said. "I felt a little better in the second. The third, fourth and fifth felt good and then I ran into a wall in the sixth.''

    Steve Reed relieved and got Vladimir Guerrero to hit a double-play grounder to shortstop and Brad Wilkerson to ground to second to hold the Mets' one-run lead.

    The Mets scored three in the ninth on four straight one-out hits off Tucker. Rey Ordonez doubled and scored on Brady Clark's run-scoring double after the two homers.

    Middlebrook allowed three hits and two runs in five-plus innings. He walked two and struck out five.

    "He did a good job of pitching tonight,'' Expos catcher Michael Barrett said. "We're just struggling as a team right now offensively so that was part of the reason for his success, but on top of that he was keeping the ball down and using his breaking ball really early in the game.''

    Vaughn singled to lead off the second. He advanced to second on Burnitz's one-out grounder to first and scored the Mets' first run on Phillips' two-out RBI single to center.

    Phillips was thrown out at second on catcher Michael Barrett's relay to end the inning.

    Ohka lost his second straight start after going 5-0 in his six previous starts. He allowed six hits and five runs in 6 1/3 innings.

    Game notes

    Middlebrook was 1-3 with a 5.09 ERA in 12 games with the Padres earlier this season. He was 4-6 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 games in Triple-A, including a 2-1 record with a 2.66 ERA with the Mets' Norfolk affiliate. ... Vaughn is 8-for-12 (.667) overall against Ohka, including a double, three home runs and four RBI. ... The Expos wore small Canadian flags on the left side of their caps for the game in honor of Canadian victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. According to the Canadian Press, 24 Canadians were killed as a result of the attacks.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press