Series: Game 1 of 4

New York leads 1-0 (as of 4/18)

Game 1: Thursday, April 18
New York 1Final
Montreal 0
Game 2: Friday, April 19
New York 3Final
Montreal 5
Game 3: Saturday, April 20
New York 5Final
Montreal 7
Game 4: Sunday, April 21
New York 3Final
Montreal 6

Mets 1

(10-6, 5-2 away)

Expos 0

(8-8, 3-4 home)

7:05 PM ET, April 18, 2002

Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec 

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NYM 000100000 1 - -
MON 000000000 0 - -

W: A. Leiter (2-0)

L: J. Vazquez (0-1)

Leiter throws eighth career shutout in victory

MONTREAL (AP) -- Al Leiter made clear who the ace of the New York Mets' staff is.

Al Leiter


Al Leiter has allowed only four earned runs in 39 innings this season.

Leiter pitched a two-hitter for his eighth career shutout and Mike Piazza hit an RBI double to lead the Mets to a 1-0 win over the Montreal Expos on Thursday night.

Newcomer Pedro Astacio drew the praise of manager Bobby Valentine with a complete-game win Tuesday night, but Leiter did even better.

"It was the best performance of the year," Valentine said. "I think I got Al a little upset by saying Pedro had the best performance of the year the other day. Al came out against a hot-hitting team with the hardest game to win, 1-0 on the road, no doubt about that. He went nine, he was excellent -- I couldn't be happier. That's outstanding."

Leiter (2-0) allowed Michael Barrett's double in the fourth and Jose Vidro's double in the fifth as he pitched his 14th career complete game before a crowd of 4,512 that featured a large crowd of Mets fans behind their dugout.

"I don't get many complete games, and I was certainly tasting the complete game -- and the shutout," Leiter said. "I don't know how many I've had in my career, but I cherish every one of them."

Leiter has allowed just one earned run in 24 innings for a league-leading 0.38 ERA in four starts.

"I feel pretty good about what's going on right now," Leiter said. "But it's a long season, and I hate to give the cliches, but it's a constant battle as you keep working on things that you need to work on, and you never figure it out."

The Mets, who have won seven of nine, scored the only run of the game in the fourth. Roberto Alomar hit a leadoff single off Javier Vazquez (0-1) and scored from first when Piazza hit a drive over left fielder Lou Collier's head for a run-scoring double.

"Alomar led off and I threw him a good pitch and he just fought it off for a hit, and it started things off," Vazquez said. "That's what happens. Piazza hit a changeup that I left up -- it was probably the worst changeup I threw all day -- and he doesn't miss those up in the zone."

One night after Montreal set season highs in hits and runs in a 15-8 win over Chicago, Leiter retired the first 12 Expos before Barrett hit a broken-bat double leading off the fifth.

One out later, Barrett advanced to third -- the only runner to get that far -- on Orlando Cabrera's grounder to second. Chris Truby walked before Collier grounded to shortstop to end the inning.

Mets center fielder Timo Perez made a diving catch on Vazquez's liner leading off the sixth. One out later, Vidro doubled and Vladimir Guerrero was intentionally walked as the Expos threatened for the second straight inning.

Leiter got Barrett to ground to second to escape the threat and he retired the last 10 batters to end the game. He struck out eight and walked two.

"That's as good a game as I've ever seen him pitch, no doubt about that," Valentine said. "It would be hard to top it."

New York didn't manage much more against Vazquez, who struck out six while allowing five hits and one run in eight innings.

"There's not much to do," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "It was a fine pitching performance on both sides, but we just got outpitched tonight."

Game notes

Mets 1B Mo Vaughn took batting practice before to the game. Vaughn, who broke a bone in his right little finger when he was hit by a pitch April 4, took about 40 swings as he faced live pitching for the first time since his injury. He is expected to return to the lineup Sunday when he is eligible to be activated from the 15-day DL. ... Mets RHP Pete Walker was in uniform and available to pitch Thursday after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Norfolk. ... Expos 1B Andres Galarraga was scheduled to make his fourth start of the season but was a last-minute scratch because of pain in his lower back. Galarraga is 9-for-25 (.360) overall against Leiter, with three doubles, one homer and 11 RBIs. Lee Stevens started and went 0-for-3. ... Collier, acquired from the Mets on March 26, made his first start of the season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press