Along From Their Dignity, Mets Lose to Expos

Vladimir Guerrero wants to emulate Alfonso Soriano in the worst way. With the Yankee superstar just a single homerun away from becoming only the fourth player in history to join the "club", Vlad is making every effort to follow right behind him, when he swiped three bases and paced the Expos to a 6-1 win over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium on Friday evening. With the games dwindling down to a precious few, the Mets and Expos are simply playing out the string.

For Vlad the season may not be long enough, however. The three thefts left him with 39 steals to go with 37 homeruns, as the season approaches its final week.

Tony Armas Jr. stopped the Mets cold for seven innings, with youngsters Jamey Carroll and Matt Cepicky chipping in with their support. The Mets took the early lead when they scored their only run in the second inning. Rookie Raul Gonzalez singled in Edgardo Alfonso with Mets lone tally. That lead lasted precisely ½ inning, as the Expos struck right back in the top of the third, with Vlad singling in Carroll to knot the score.

The Expos captured the lead for good in the fifth inning. An error by Mo Vaughn allowed Cepicky to reach base and the Expos scored the go ahead run when Endy Chavez scored. The Expos added two more runs in the inning. Orlando singled in Vlad and catcher Michael Barrett delivered Cepicky with a double. The Expos led 4-1 and would never again be challenged by the Mets in the contest.

John Thomson (9-13) was the starter and loser for the Mets. He tossed five innings and allowed the first four runs. Pat Strange took over in the sixth inning and promptly balked in the Expos' fifth run. Carroll scored that run. He also singled in Montreal's final run in the 8th frame as Endy Chavez scored. That run was scored off the Mets' third hurler of the game, Tyler Walker. With the loss, Thomson dropped to 2-5 since moving over to the Mets from Colorado.

The game was once again characteristic of the Mets' season. With a solid core of Cedeno, Alomar, Piazza, Vaughn, Alfonso and Burnitz, the Mets could once again muster little offense against Armas (11-12). He scattered nine hits, allowing only the single run, while walking one and striking out three.

The series will continue on Saturday at Shea Stadium, when Javier Vazquez goes for Montreal, with the Mets countering with a slumping Pedro Astacio.

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