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Armas Jr., Stewart combine on three-hitter

6/28/2002

TORONTO (AP) -- Before Bartolo Colon even joins the Montreal Expos, his presence is being felt.

Tony Armas Jr. and Scott Stewart combined on a three-hitter, and
Fernando Tatis hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning as
the Expos edged the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Friday night.

One night after acquiring the ace right-hander from the
Cleveland Indians in a six-player deal, the surprising Expos won
for the 11th time in 14 games.

"He changes everything,'' Tatis said. "It's an unbelievable
trade. It's going to be good for us. We're all excited. There is a
good feeling in here. It makes you keep going.''

Targeted for elimination before the season started, Montreal has
already climbed into postseason contention.

Now, Colon highlights an impressive starting rotation that also
includes Javier Vazquez, Tomo Ohka and Armas (8-7). Colon was
expected to join the Expos on Saturday and pitch Tuesday night at
Atlanta.

"It's awesome,'' said Armas, who no longer feels the pressure
of being a front line starter. "People talk about me and Javier
and now they'll talk about him. It's kind of nice. You get to
relax.''

Montreal slugger Vladimir Guerrero went 0-for-4, ending his
20-game hitting streak.

Armas allowed one run on three hits in seven innings. The
24-year-old right-hander struck out six and walked three to improve
to 3-0 in his last five starts.

"The guys are energized by Colon. They are excited about it,''
Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. "It could lead to something
good. The other players could feed off it, and be energized by it.
They'll just go out and compete.''

Stewart pitched two perfect innings for his ninth save.

The Expos, playing what might be their final series against
their Canadian rivals, improved to 13-16 against Toronto.

Blue Jays starter Roy Halladay (9-4) allowed just three hits
before Tatis hit his ninth homer in the seventh. The right-hander
gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings. He struck out three
and walked none.

"Tatis hit a good pitch,'' Halladay said of his curveball. "If
I had it back again I would have thrown it again.''

The Blue Jays have lost three straight and nine of 13.

Toronto's Felipe Lopez led off the fifth with a triple into the
gap in right-center. Armas then got two quick outs on Ken Huckaby's
grounder to third and Jose Cruz Jr.'s strikeout, but Eric Hinske
singled to center, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead.

Montreal's Orlando Cabrera doubled in the sixth and advanced to
third on Brian Schneider's sacrifice before scoring on Jose Macias'
RBI grounder.

Game notes
Guerrero had a career-high 31-game hitting streak in 1999.
... Hinske, who has played better defense lately, made his first
error since May 29. He has 16 errors this season. The Blue Jays
record for errors by a third baseman is 22, shared by Roy Howell
(1978) and Kelly Gruber (1989).