Series: Game 4 of 4

Montreal won 4-0

Game 1: Friday, April 11
NY Mets0Final
Game 2: Saturday, April 12
NY Mets4Final
Game 3: Sunday, April 13
NY Mets1Final
in 10
Game 4: Monday, April 14
NY Mets3Final

Mets 3

(4-9, 1-6 away)

Expos 5

(9-4, 4-0 home)

    4:45 PM ET, April 14, 2003

    Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 000021000 3 7 2
    MON 12000002 - 5 6 1

    W: D. Smith (1-0)

    L: S. Strickland (0-1)

    S: R. Biddle (4)

    Mets' visit to Puerto Rico a good thing for Expos

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- A trip to the Montreal Expos' favorite island caused a shipwreck for the New York Mets.

    Antiwar fans interrupt game
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Two spectators ran on the field and unfurled an antiwar banner during Monday's game.

    Just after the Mets' Tony Clark hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, the fans jumped from the stands and ran on the field. They displayed a banner, which read: "No a la guerra'' ("No to the war") with a drawing of a gun.

    About a dozen police and security officials converged on them, and umpire Joe West appeared to say something to them. The banner was taken by the security officials, and the spectators dragged from the field.

    The game continued after a delay of about three minutes.
    -- Associated Press

    More errors. More injuries.

    The bottom line: Swept away.

    "Maybe it's just Puerto Rico. Maybe we have to get out of Puerto Rico," Mets manager Art Howe said Monday night after his team's latest loss, a deflating 5-3 defeat against Montreal that completed a four-game sweep.

    "There's no logic to it. It's something different every night. Maybe a change of scenery will solve the problem."

    New York clawed back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game, but Fernando Tatis hit an opposite-field, two-run single in the eighth inning off David Weathers after Mike Stanton joined the injury list.

    Rey Sanchez, one of the Puerto Rican stars getting to play major league ball in their home country, set up the winning rally when he misplayed Vladimir Guerrero's one-out grounder to shortstop for an error.

    "We'll battle through it. We'll be better," Weathers said. "Last year we started 18-11, everybody thought we were going to take off and we went in the tank."

    The NL East-leading Expos (9-4), who play 22 of their home games in San Juan, extended their winning streak to five. They made New York's island visit a wipeout, outscoring the last-place Mets 22-8.

    "This was pretty sweet," Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. "I'm very proud of this team. We understand and appreciate what went on here tonight."

    New York (4-9) lost its sixth straight and dropped five games back, its season veering off course just two weeks in. The Mets, who have scored only 38 runs this season. hadn't been swept by the Expos in a four-game series since September 1972.

    Los Expos dispatched New York like rude tourists. Stanton strained a calf muscle, joining Cliff Floyd (Achilles' tendon) and Mo Vaughn (sore knee) on the injured list. Mike Piazza, trying desperately to beat out a hit, tumbled over first base in the sixth inning.

    "A couple of bruises, but I'm all right," Piazza said.

    Howe was worried at first, saying: "That looked like it could have been a separated shoulder." Right now, the Mets are trying to sprint from home to first in two seconds.

    "How can you criticize anybody who's playing so hard for you?" he said.

    Meanwhile, Montreal might never want to leave. The Expos have the second-best record in the National League and the games have drawn far more than they would have up in Canada. Attendance for the 4:45 p.m. start was 13,155 after crowds of 17,906, 18,264 (a sellout) and 16,332 the first three days.

    "From a baseball point of view, it was great," said Steve Trachsel, who allowed Guerrero's first-inning homer and two more runs in the second. "The fans were great. They love their players. It's fun to play in front of fans like that."

    For Piazza, though, it wasn't much fun.

    "Obviously, the facility is not major league standards," he said. "I don't think they're trying to fool anybody on that."

    Several Mets criticized security for reacting slowly when two spectators ran on the field in the fifth inning and unfurled a banner that read: "No a la guerra" ("No to the war") with a drawing of a machine gun and oil well.

    "They had the Green Berets and Delta Force down there and they were just standing there," Weathers said.

    Teammate Roberto Alomar, Puerto Rico's biggest current baseball star, was in the clubhouse at the time.

    "I want to apologize on behalf of the Puerto Rican people," he said.

    Expos starter Javier Vazquez, who is from nearby Ponce, pitched a major league game for the first time in front of his grandmother, Isabel. He dominated early, striking out the side in the first inning, but allowed Tony Clark's two-run homer in the fifth, which cleared the bleachers in right-center.

    New York tied it in the sixth when Sanchez, also cheered loudly, singled and came around from second when Piazza's single to left was misplayed for an error by Brad Wilkerson.

    "At least I kept the team in the game," Vazquez said. "I knew the public would be behind me, and I wanted to do the best I could. Hopefully, they were proud of me."

    Montreal went back ahead in the eighth. Guerrero reached against Scott Strickland (0-1) on Sanchez's error. Stanton got Wil Cordero to hit a comebacker, but couldn't hear Piazza yell "Second base!" and threw to first as the runner advanced.

    Orlando Cabrera was intentionally walked, and Stanton got hurt on a spin move to second before his 3-2 pitch. He then walked Wilkerson and was replaced by Weathers. Tatis, from the nearby Dominican Republic, sliced an opposite-field single into right field, giving him three RBIs.

    Dan Smith (1-0) got the win and Rocky Biddle pitched the ninth for his fourth save. Fans cheered loudly as Jose Vidro, who had two homers and three doubles in the series, was selected MVP.

    Sanchez, whose error finished off New York's awful trip, didn't want to talk about it.

    "No," he said. "I got to go."

    Game notes

    Several Montreal players and coaches plan to visit Fort Buchanan, a U.S. military base in the suburbs of San Juan, on Wednesday. ... The Mets traveled to Pittsburgh immediately after the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press