Zach Has His Day, Beats Mets 5-1

Vladimir Guerrero just might beat Alfonso Soriano into the 40-40 Club. The Montreal right fielder stole his 40th base and slugged his 38th homerun of 2002, as the Expos defeated the New York Mets and Al Leiter Sunday afternoon in New York 5-1. Guerrero who has been trying to steal every base in sight lately copped #40 in the third inning, and blasted homer #38 in the fifth off Leiter, as the Expos, now 79-77, are trying to finish above the .500 mark for the first time since 1998.

Sun-Woo Kim left the game too early due to a tight muscle in the fifth, thus he failed to record the victory. Zach Day (4-1) took over and finished off the Mets. He also came away with the win.

The Expos jumped on Leiter (13-12) for a pair of runs in the second inning. Andres Galarraga singled and Fernando Tatis walked with one out. Michael Barrett then hit a ground rule double which scored Galarraga and moved Tatis to third. Wilton Guerrero grounded back to the mound and Barrett was forced for the second out. With Kim the pitcher batting it appeared as if Leiter would get out of the inning without sustaining further damage. However, Rey Ordonez booted Kim's grounder which allowed Tatis to score from third with Montreal's second run of the game.

Vladimir Guerrero took matters into his own hands in the 3rd inning when he stole third base for his 40th steal of the season. And in the fifth, following a leadoff single by Jamey Carroll, Vlad went deep against Leiter, homering over the left field wall, for his 38th big fly of the season. That increased the Montreal lead to 4-0, and it appeared that Kim would come away a winner.

In the bottom of the fifth, with one man out, Kim was forced from the game with muscle cramps. Day entered the game and recorded the final two outs of the inning. He hurled the final four innings as well, and yielded the Mets only run in the eighth stanza, after the Expos had tacked on a run in the 6th frame. Carroll doubled in Wilton Guerrero for 5-0 Montreal advantage.

The lone Mets run came when Jeromy Burnitz reached on a three-base error by Galarraga and scored on a grounder by Ty Wigginton. All in all, Day allowed the Mets only two hits in his 4 2/3 innings of relief in the 5-1 win.

The anemic Mets offense once again was totally shut down by an opponent, and now they have to win their remaining seven outings to finish the season at exactly .500. It is not exactly what was prophesied earlier this year.

New York now moves on to PNC Park in Pittsburgh for the final roadtrip of the season. Steve Trachsel will face Josh Fogg in the opener. Between Trachsel and the inevitable rain delays in the Steel City, the game could take a few hours to play. At least the few fans who do attend the game will get their money's worth.

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