Patterson pitches seven strong innings

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Eight years after he was drafted by
the Expos, John Patterson made his Montreal debut.

He was worth the wait.

Patterson pitched seven stellar innings, and Peter Bergeron's
two-out RBI single in the seventh sent the Expos to a 1-0 win over
the New York Mets on Saturday night.

The right-hander was selected fifth overall in the 1996 amateur
draft but became a free agent on a technicality and signed with
Arizona. Montreal got him back this year with a trade late in
spring training.

"It's been a long time coming," Patterson said. "It felt
great to put the uniform on, eight years later."

Patterson (1-0) allowed just two hits, struck out six and walked
one. Chad Cordero pitched the eighth, giving up a double to
pinch-hitter Todd Zeile, and Rocky Biddle worked the ninth for his
second save.

Montreal compensated for its struggling offense with a
three-hitter, its first shutout of the season.

"That was a tremendous performance. Exactly what we needed,"
manager Frank Robinson said. "Right now, we can't afford to give
up one run."

The teams split the first two games of their series at Hiram
Bithorn Stadium, where the Expos will play 22 "home" games for
the second consecutive season.

Montreal managed only four hits against Al Leiter and reliever
Jae Weong Seo until the seventh.

Brad Wilkerson opened the inning with a double and moved to
third on a sacrifice bunt by Einar Diaz. Pinch-hitter Ron Calloway
grounded out, but Bergeron hit a grounder down the third-base line
to score Wilkerson.

Leiter also had a strong performance in his first outing of the
season. His start was pushed back two days after he was hit in the
head by a line drive during his final spring training appearance.

The left-hander threw five shutout innings, allowing three hits
and striking out four. Seo (0-1) gave up one run and three hits in
two innings.

"I felt comfortable making my pitches," said Leiter, who gave
credit to Patterson. "He just pitched great."

The first real threat by New York came in the second, when Mike
Cameron hit a single and stole second. Jason Phillips then walked,
but Ty Wigginton struck out and Joe McEwing flied to center to end
the inning.

Cliff Floyd opened the fourth with a double and advanced to
third on a grounder by Mike Piazza. But a groundout by Cameron and
a popout by Phillips ended the threat.

Montreal had runners on second and third with none out in the
fourth. But Leiter got out of the jam by striking out Tony Batista,
inducing a groundout by Luis Lopez and getting a running catch from
Floyd on Diaz's liner to left.

Game notes
Cameron had two stolen bases, pushing his total to four
this season. ... Batista got his second hit of the season, a
sixth-inning single, after opening the season with a 1-for-17 slump
in the first four games. ... Piazza is slated to make his first
start at first base for the Mets on Sunday.