ATLANTA (AP) -- The Braves had just one day back atop the NL
East, their first share of the lead since April 8.
Jose Vidro homered and had three hits, helping the Montreal
Expos beat Atlanta 5-1 Friday night and knock the Braves out of a
first-place tie with Philadelphia."It's not a cakewalk going down the stretch," Atlanta's J.D.
Drew said. "It's going to be what I've said all along, a battle.
Hopefully, this pushes us to another level."A night after the Expos were shut out for the 14th time this
season, Montreal rebounded to beat Atlanta for only the third time
in 11 games this year. Overall, the Expos had lost 12 of their
previous 20 games."Any win around here right now is a positive thing," Montreal
starter John Patterson said.Nick Johnson added two hits, including an RBI double in the
eighth off Chris Reitsma, and the Expos' bullpen pitched 4 1-3
shutout innings. Their relievers are 07-16, the lowest win total in
the National League."It's the little things, and it was a big game," Montreal
manager Frank Robinson. "The pitching held up."Joe Horgan (2-0) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth after
he relieved Claudio Vargas, and Luis Ayala pitched the ninth to
complete the six-hitter.Atlanta lost for only the fourth time in 17 games and fell one
game behind the Phillies. Drew and Charles Thomas each had two
hits, with Drew extending his hitting streak to a career-best 13
games."You could play the Yankees or them, they're equally tough to
beat," Braves manager Bobby Cox. "They had good pitching. They
shut us down."Paul Byrd (2-2) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings.
Patterson, who had been sidelined since April 27 with a strained
right groin, gave up one run, two hits and four walks in 4 2-3
innings."He gave us all he had," Robinson said of Patterson. "I
probably gave him one or two more batters than I should have. I
wanted him to be eligible for the win, but I didn't want to
jeopardize the game."Montreal took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on Tony Batista's RBI
single and a run-scoring grounder by Orlando Cabrera as the Braves
failed to turn what could have been an inning-ending double play.Drew hit an RBI single in the fifth on the first pitch from
Vargas, who took over for Patterson and later got out of a
bases-loaded jam when Johnny Estrada grounded out.Patterson, who was on a pitch count of 75-80, left after
throwing 87."I never got tired, and my arm felt great," he said. "I
definitely could have gone one more hitter."Vidro's solo shot in the sixth made it 3-1, and Horgan got out
of trouble in the bottom half when the speedy Rafael Furcal
grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded."That was really a big situation for our team," Horgan said.
"To get a double play, I wasn't expecting that. He's a fast
runner."These are the games you want to be in, the ones you want to be
Furcal broke three bats, including two on foul balls. ...
Vidro, a switch-hitter, hit his home run left-handed. The Expos
don't have a right-handed homer since June 30, a span of 13 games.
... Atlanta C Johnny Estrada played a night after leaving early
when he was hit in the hand by a pitch.