Series: Game 1 of 3

New York leads 1-0 (as of 7/22)

Game 1: Monday, July 22
Montreal 2Final
New York 5
Game 2: Tuesday, July 23
Montreal 3Final
New York 4
Game 3: Wednesday, July 24
Montreal 2Final
New York 1

Expos 2

(49-50, 19-33 away)

Mets 5

(51-48, 26-20 home)

    7:10 PM ET, July 22, 2002

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    MON 000020000 2 - -
    NYM 01010021 - 5 - -

    W: D. Weathers (4-3)

    L: T. Ohka (8-5)

    S: A. Benitez (24)

    Rookie comes through in a pinch for Mets

    NEW YORK (AP) -- With one swing, rookie Marco Scutaro made a name for himself at Shea Stadium.

    Mo Vaughn
    First Base
    New York Mets
    84 15 47 41 0 .261

    Scutaro delivered his first major league hit, a pinch-hit two-run triple that broke a seventh-inning tie and sent the New York Mets over the Montreal Expos 5-2 Monday night.

    As the ball was taken out of play for a souvenir and the Expos changed pitchers, the crowd of 23,655 chanted ''Mar-co! Mar-co!''

    ''It's a great feeling. There's no explanation for the feeling,'' Scutaro said. ''I couldn't ask for anything better.''

    A day after making his big league debut after eight seasons in the minors, Scutaro's enthusiasm was still showing. The front of his uniform dirty from a headfirst slide, the 26-year-old pumped his fist to the rock music in the clubhouse and bounced around from teammate to teammate, eager to accept their congratulations.

    ''He should enjoy this,'' said Jay Payton, who homered and hit a sacrifice fly.

    The Mets, scrambling back into the NL wild card race, began their most important stretch of the year by winning the opener of a season-long 13-game homestand.

    And while Mo Vaughn's hustle and homer, Roberto Alomar's hitting and Mike Piazza's throwing helped, Scutaro made the difference as New York won for the seventh time in nine games.

    The Expos ended their scoreless streak at 27 innings -- their worst drought since 1991 -- on Michael Barrett's two-run homer in the fifth. Still, Montreal lost its fourth in a row and missed a chance to catch the Mets in the standings.

    ''We don't seem to be clicking on all cylinders,'' Expos manager Frank Robinson said. ''We're not making the big pitch when we need to, not getting the big hit, not making the plays when we need to.''

    It was 2-all in the Mets seventh when Tony Tarasco, in the game after left fielder Roger Cedeno cut his right hand trying to make a catch, singled with one out. Rey Ordonez followed with a sinking liner to left that bounced out of Cliff Floyd's glove for a single off Tomo Ohka (8-5).

    Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who admitted he hadn't seen much of Scutaro, chose to send him to the plate because John Valentin had tweaked his hamstring and wasn't in good shape to pinch-hit.

    So Scutaro, who flied out in his major league debut Sunday, batted for reliever David Weathers (4-3). In only his second at-bat, the Triple-A All-Star hit a sharp grounder that rolled into the left-field corner.

    Showing exceptional speed, Scutaro streaked into the third base with a headfirst slide, barely beating the throw as third baseman Fernando Tatis rolled over him.

    Even after Scutaro was caught in a rundown when he broke from third base and Timo Perez swung after missing a squeeze sign -- ''I hope it doesn't hit my head,'' Scutaro said -- the backup infielder got a standing ovation from the fans behind the first-base dugout. Among those in the crowd were his wife, Marine, and their 2-month-old daughter.

    Piazza met him with a hearty high-five at the on-deck circle and there was an enthusiastic greeting on the bench. There was a joke, too -- when the Mets gave him the souvenir from his triple, they playfully presented an old, scuffed-ball.

    ''I said, 'For real?''' Scutaro kidded.

    Scutaro was claimed on waivers from Milwaukee on April 5. He was hitting .336 at Norfolk when he was promoted Friday.

    ''We knew he was a scrappy player, a hard-nosed player,'' general manager Steve Phillips said.

    Vaughn added a solo homer, his 15th, in the eighth for insurance. It was his 10th homer in his last 23 games.

    Alomar added three hits and Piazza threw out two runners trying to steal. Armando Benitez closed for his 24th save.

    In the fourth, Vaughn doubled and then lumbered home on a pair of fly balls. He went to third on a long drive to right fielder Vladimir Guerrero and hustled to beat center fielder's Brad Wilkerson's on-target throw on Payton's sacrifice fly.

    ''Station to station, you have to know when to go,'' Vaughn said.

    Payton homered in the second for a 1-0 lead.

    Steve Trachsel was activated from the 15-day disabled list and started for the Mets. He went five innings, gave up three hits and threw 101 pitches.

    The Expos, coming off consecutive shutouts at Florida, had their longest scoreless streak since going 29 innings without a run in 1991.

    Game notes

    Montreal's record for being shut out was 32 innings on Sept. 24-30, 1972. ... Barrett was back in the lineup after sitting out Sunday, a day after bruising his left forearm. ... Mets LHP Mark Guthrie pitched a scoreless eighth. He has not allowed a run in 22 1-3 innings over 28 appearances. ... Cedeno cut his right little finger when he misplayed Floyd's liner for an error. ... Floyd is in an 0-for-14 slump. ... The last Mets player to get a triple for his first major league hit was pitcher Eric Cammack on July 5, 2000.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press