Vlad Spikes Drive For Five

It was an ideal situation, bases loaded, two outs, and one of the Mets hottest hitters, Edgardo Alfonzo at the plate. Expos starter Bartolo Colon was tiring, but Alfonzo swung at the first pitch and grounded into a fielder's choice to end the game as the Mets wasted Shawn Estes' best start of the year and once again saw Vladimir Guerrero torment them by hitting the go-ahead home run as they lost 2-1 on Thursday afternoon. The loss deprived them of a chance to win five in a row.

Estes, pitching well into the fourth inning, made a mistake in that inning. It wasn't one of the Expos heavy hitters, like Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Vidro, Cliff Floyd or Fernando Tatis who drove in the Expos first run of the game. It was journeyman Wilfredo Cordero, who the Expos had acquired in May, who hit an Estes pitch over the left field fence for a solo home run and a 1-0 Expos lead.

Bartolo Colon, who had been traded to the Expos during the Indians fire sale, was cruising along, only giving up several hits to Mike Piazza. The Mets finally caught up to him, as Piazza doubled in the eighth. Mo Vaughn then followed with a sharp single, but since it was hit so hard, and the ball skidded on the astroturf quickly, Piazza could only advance to third. Alfonzo, who had driven in a run in six straight games, made it seven when he doubled. Piazza scored to tie the game, and Vaughn lumbered to third. After the Expos elected to walk Jeromy Burnitz to load the bases, Bobby Valentine elected to have Roger Cedeno, who didn't start the game, pinch-run for Vaughn. Jay Payton, who has not hit well with the bases loaded, continued to struggle in that situation, hitting a ground ball to third base, where Fernando Tatis fielded it and threw home for the forceout. Colon then struck out Rey Ordonez to escaped the jam and the game remained tied 1-1.

Mark Corey came in to relieve Jaime Cerda, who had relieved Estes. He had a hard-fought battle with Jose Vidro, throwing 11 pitches before retiring him. But then Guerrero hit a bad pitch out of the strike zone over 400 feet and the Expos had the lead.


-The Mets didn't have to face Floyd, as the left-handed slugger was benched because of how tough Estes is on left-handed hitters.

-Despite the low-coring affair, three Mets had multiple hit days--Roberto Alomar, Timo Perez, and Piazza. Perez and Piazza both had three hits.

-Corey got the loss.

-The Mets play in Cincinatti on Friday, the first of a three-game series. Pedro Astacio (9-3, 3.14 E.R.A.) will try to kick-start another winning streak. while the Reds will counter with Jared Fernandez (1-0, 3.46 E.R.A.)

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