Mets Bats Keep Pitching From Being Impaled by Vlad

The Mets bats continued to show signs of consistent hitting and the Mets weathered Vladimir Guerrero's two-home-run-four-hit night as Mo Vaughn, Edgardo Alfonzo and Jay Payton had three hits each and Mike Piazza showed no signs of rustiness from missing a couple of games due to a sore back as the Mets beat the Expos 9-6. The offensive firepower helped overcome another rough start by Jeff D'Amico, who gave up three home runs in Wednesday night's game in Montreal.

Guerrero, perhaps baseball's best all-around player, drew first blood for the Expos when he hit a solo home run in the first inning to put the Mets in a 1-0 hole.

The Mets climbed out of that hole in the top of the second, when Vaughn walked and took third on Alfonzo's double. Vaughn scored when Payton singled and Alfonzo moved to third. Roger Cedeno grounded into a fielder's choice. Alfonzo was able to score when the Expos elected to make the force play at second. 2-1 Mets

Piazza, coming back from nursing a sore back for the past two games, made it 3-1 when he hit a solo home run. Vaughn then singled, and Alfonzo followed suit. Payton doubled to deep left, Vaughn was able to score easily, but Alfonzo was thrown out at the plate. 4-1 Mets.

Guerrero hit his second home run of the game in the fourth to make it 4-2 and after Cliff Floyd, the recently acquired slugger from the Florida Marlins, hit an infield single, Fernando Tatis doubled, scoring Floyd. 4-3 Mets.

Jose Vidro tied the game when he homered, the third Montreal home run off of Mets starter D'Amico, who has continued to struggle, in the sixth.

The Mets came back with a vengeance in the eighth. Roberto Alomar singled. Perez sacrificed him to second with a bunt. Piazza was intentionally walked and Vaughn made the Expos pay for that strategy by singling, scoring Alomar. Alfonzo then doubled, scoring both Piazza and Vaughn. Payton hit an infield single and took second on a wild pitch while Cedeno was batting. Cedeno hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Alfonzo and Payton prudently took second on the throw to the plate. He scored when Rey Ordonez singled. By the time the inning was over, the Mets were ahead 9-4.

Montreal refused to go away though, as they made David Weathers, who had come in to relieve Mark Guthrie, work hard. Floyd reached on an error by Cedeno, who tried to one-hand Floyd's fly ball on the run and had it hit off the heel of his glove. Weathers then walked Andres Galarraga. Fernando Tatis singled, loading the bases. After Orlando Cabrera flied out, Brian Schneider singled and it was 9-5. Weathers bore down and then struck out the next two hitters, Troy O'Leary and Brad Wilkerson to get out of the inning.

Armando Benitez, pitching in a non-save situation, gave up a run to make it 9-6, but then calmed down and finished off the game, striking out Tatis to end it.

Notes

- Cedeno made a baserunning error in the seventh, when he overran second and was tagged out after Ordonez laid down a sacrifice bunt.

-Mark Guthrie got the win to go to 4-0.

-The Mets used five relievers in the game: Jaime Cerda, Mark Corey, Guthrie, Weathers and Benitez.

-Expos manager Frank Robinson was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the eighth inning.

-Thursday's game, the conclusion of the two-game set, will have the Mets sending Shawn Estes (3-7, 5.08 E.R.A.) and the Expos will send their newly acquired ace, Bartolo Colon (2-0, 3.86 E.R.A.) to the mound.

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