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Sledge's double helps Expos prevail

NEW YORK (AP) -- There was a time earlier this season when
Montreal's Terrmel Sledge looked lost at the plate. Now he's
batting fourth for the Expos.

"He's a pretty good little hitter," manager Frank Robinson
said. "He's worked hard to make himself better."

Sledge hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth inning and the
Expos opened the team's final series before the franchise moves to
Washington with a 4-2 victory over the New York Mets on Friday
night.

Sledge and Brian Schneider each drove in two runs for the Expos,
who snapped a five-game losing streak. The team is relocating after
36 years in Montreal.

Sledge had two hits, raising his average to .263. His two RBI
gave him 22 in the last 20 games

"I was just trying to look for a pitch out over the middle of
the plate," he said. "I knew they weren't going to throw me
middle-in. There were no outs, so I knew they were going to nibble
outside and I got the pitch. I took a decent swing."

Endy Chavez drew a leadoff walk from Pedro Feliciano (1-1) in
the eighth, moved to second on Tony Batista's single off Tyler
Yates and scored on Sledge's double to left center. Juan Rivera
walked to load the bases and Schneider singled to give Montreal a
4-2 lead.

"I was glad to get a hit there," Schneider said. "I was
looking to hit the ball hard. We had a bunch of young guys behind
us and it was just good to get a win and, at the same time, those
guys are getting good experience and that's a big thing for us."

Jon Rauch (3-0) pitched one scoreless inning for the victory.
Chad Cordero got three outs for his 14th save.

The Mets jumped in front quickly in the first inning against
Expos starter Scott Downs.

Jose Reyes opened with a double and scored on Kaz Matsui's
single. David Wright doubled, putting runners on second and third,
and Todd Zeile hit a run-scoring groundout.

Montreal got a run back in the second when Sledge walked and
scored on Schneider's single.

In the third, the Expos tied it on consecutive one-out singles
by Chavez, Batista and Sledge. Mets starter Kris Benson escaped
further trouble, getting Rivera to hit into an inning-ending double
play.

Matsui made his first start at second base and confessed before
the game that he was nervous. He had five assists and one putout
and started a double play in the third.

"He made all the plays," manager Art Howe said. "He turned a
double play. He looked good."

Matsui sounded less sure.

"I don't know if it was good or bad," he said. "It's hard to
evaluate myself. I was able to manage the plays today. There will
be different situations."

Game notes
Former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent attended the game.
... Rivera was ruled out for interfering with Matsui on a
double-play pivot in the sixth. ... SS Maicer Izturis was scratched
from the Expos starting lineup because of an inflamed groin. ...
Benson threw 100 pitches in five innings, walking three and
striking out six. ... Downs left after six innings and 112 pitches.
He walked one and struck out five. ... Yates' scoreless streak of 9
1-3 innings ended.