Series: Game 3 of 3

Montreal won 3-0

Game 1: Monday, March 31
Game 2: Wednesday, April 2
Game 3: Thursday, April 3

Expos 4

(3-0, 3-0 away)

Braves 0

(0-3, 0-3 home)

    7:35 PM ET, April 3, 2003

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

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    W: J. Vazquez (1-0)

    L: R. Ortiz (0-1)

    Braves are 0-3 for first time since 1988

    ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves don't look anything like the team that won 11 straight division titles.

    Javy Lopez

    A rare bright spot for the Braves: Javy Lopez acknowledges fans after getting his 1,000th career hit.

    Five-time Gold Glove winner Andruw Jones dropped a routine flyball to lead to Montreal's first run and Brad Wilkerson hit a two-run homer off Braves newcomer Russ Ortiz as the Expos won 4-0 Thursday night to send Atlanta to its worst start in 15 years.

    "That's the best series I've seen this team play," said manager Frank Robinson, who led Montreal to a 83-79 record last year in his first season as manager of the Expos.

    "We had good pitching and we caught the Braves at the right time. We get three games and get out of town," he said shortly before the Expos left for a weekend series in New York against the Mets.

    The Braves are 0-3 for the first time since 1988 when they began 0-10. That was three years before they began their record run of division titles. Atlanta, outscored 17-2 in the three-game sweep to Montreal, was shut out for the second consecutive night and is scoreless in 19 straight innings.

    "We left our bats in spring training," said Jones, who hit .385 during the spring, but is hitting only .167 so far. The Braves hit .291 during the exhibition season, .228 now.

    The Braves had not been blanked in two straight games since Sept. 24-25, 1992 against San Francisco and San Diego, and had not been swept since Aug. 10-12, 2001, by Arizona.

    "We outhit them (9-6) but they're hitting home runs. That's the difference," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "I'm not frustrated. We'd like to win every night and we will."

    Montreal starter Javier Vazquez (1-0) pitched 5 2-3 innings and allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out five to help the Expos get off to their best start since going 3-0 in 1997.

    "I was just mixing up my pitches. I know them pretty good and they know me very well," Vazquez said. "I just try to make good pitches and make them swing the bat."

    Vazquez escaped several jams with the Braves stranding nine runners in the first six innings. Scott Stewart relieved Vazquez in the sixth with two runners on and two outs and got pinch-hitter Julio Franco on a comebacker.

    T.J. Tucker and Joey Eischen finished the nine-hitter.

    Ortiz (0-1), who came to the Braves in a December trade with San Francisco for pitchers Damian Moss and Manuel Mateu, allowed an unearned run in the opening inning when Jones casually attempted to catch Jose Vidro's high fly ball to the warning track in center field. The ball flicked off the web of his glove as Vidro raced to third.

    "I just screwed up," Jones said. "I thought I was under it, but it kept drifting and drifting toward the wall and I missed it."

    Vladimir Guerrero, making his first start after serving a two-game suspension for a spring training brawl, knocked in Vidro with a groundout to third. Guerrero went 2-for-3 with an intentional walk.

    Orlando Cabrera led off the second with a single and Wilkerson followed with his first homer of the season, a drive over the right field fence for a 3-0 lead.

    Jeff Liefer added an RBI single in the fifth off Ortiz, who allowed four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in six innings.

    Vinny Castilla went 4-for-4 for the Braves, including two infield hits.

    Game notes
    Montreal's best start was 5-0 in 1972. ... The three wins over the Braves matched the Expos total victories in Atlanta last season (3-7). ... It's only the third time the Expos have swept a three-game series against the Braves, beating them in Atlanta, July 8-10, 1988 and in Montreal, June 14-16, 1991. ... Atlanta C Javy Lopez got his 1,000th career hit, a single to right field in the second inning. ... A crowd of 19,505 was on hand. Only 19,116 came out Wednesday night, the second lowest at Turner Field. The smallest crowd was last September against Pittsburgh when 18,931 showed up. ... Vazquez, scheduled to be the Expos' opening day pitcher, had his start pushed back because of a strained right calf.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press