MONTREAL (AP) -- The New York Mets believe they have an advantage
in their quest to stay ahead of the Montreal Expos at the bottom of
the NL East. That edge is fan support.
Mike Piazza hit a two-out, RBI single in the eighth inning to
help the Mets end a three-game losing skid with a 3-2 win over the
Montreal Expos on Wednesday night.New York moved two games ahead of Montreal for fourth place. The
Expos have been in last place since April 15 after getting off to a
2-7 start."Nobody wants to finish last," Mets manager Art Howe said. "I
certainly don't."Only 3,664 were on hand for the game, the second-smallest
Olympic Stadium crowd of the season and the Expos' second straight
crowd under 4,000."They're in Montreal -- nobody cares up here. We're in New York
and everybody cares," Mets starter Steve Trachsel said. "Look at
it, the attendance here is worse than spring training. It's
embarrassing."The Mets rallied in the eighth after Montreal's Tony Batista hit
his third homer in two games, off Trachsel, leading off the sixth
to tie it 2-all.Gerald Williams hit a leadoff single off Luis Ayala (6-12).
Ayala struck out Jeff Keppinger before Williams advanced to second
on David Wright's grounder to short. Piazza then looped a single
down the right-field line to drive in the go-ahead run."Mike had the key hit there to put us in front," Howe said.Ayala broke Mike Marshall's team record of 11 losses by a
reliever set in 1973."I'm not surprised that he has 12 losses, the reason being he
comes in tie ballgames," Expos catcher Brian Schneider said.
"He's put in tough positions. It's not an easy position to come
in."Bartolome Fortunato (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the
victory in his first major league decision.Braden Looper pitched a perfect ninth for his 26th save in 31
opportunities.Batista's homer was his team-leading 31st, which broke Larry
Parrish's team record for homers in a season by a third baseman set
in 1979.The Mets scored twice with two outs in the second on a pair of
triples and an RBI single by Trachsel.Wilson Delgado hit a two-out triple off John Patterson and
scored on Trachsel's single. Williams hit an RBI triple to make it
2-0.Juan Rivera's RBI single with two outs in the fourth drew
Montreal to 2-1.Williams and Jeff Keppinger hit back-to-back singles to begin
the game but Schneider's throw to first got Keppinger, who fell
over first baseman Brad Wilkerson and was tagged out.
^Notes:@ Trachsel was booed by the tiny crowd in the indoor stadium
when a batboy brought him a jacket after his single in the second.
... C Jason Phillips replaced Piazza behind the plate in the
eighth. ... Batista has seven homers and 19 RBI since Sept. 13.