Series: Game 3 of 3

New York won 2-1

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

(50-51, 20-34 away)

Mets 1

(52-49, 27-21 home)

    7:10 PM ET, July 24, 2002

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

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    NYM 000000100 1 - -

    W: J. Vazquez (8-6)

    L: S. Estes (3-8)

    S: S. Stewart (13)

    Expos end five-game losing streak

    NEW YORK (AP) -- It took two powerful arms to stop the surging New York Mets -- one on the mound, another in right field.

    Javier Vazquez

    Vladimir Guerrero

    Vladimir Guerrero threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the seventh inning and Javier Vazquez silenced the Mets as the Montreal Expos ended a five-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory.

    "It's a good feeling. It was a nice win,'' Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. "It will make the food taste better, the flight will be better and I'll be able to sleep better tonight. We needed a win real bad to stop the bleeding. You can't turn a losing streak around until you win a game.''

    Rookie Brad Wilkerson hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning. Vazquez pitched five-hit ball into the seventh, also getting defensive help from 41-year-old first baseman Andres Galarraga.

    The Mets signaled they're still determined to make a strong push for the playoffs by signing left-hander Al Leiter to a contract extension earlier in the day. New York lost for just the third time in 11 games, falling five games behind NL wild card leader San Francisco.

    "It's important for us to keep winning series,'' Mets second baseman Roberto Alomar said. "This homestand is going to be big for us.''

    Playing without All-Star second baseman Jose Vidro and slumping slugger Cliff Floyd, the fading Expos needed a win to revive their own wild card hopes.

    They got it, and avoided dropping three games under .500 for the first time all season.

    With Montreal leading 2-0 and runners at second and third in the seventh, Mets pinch-hitter John Valentin lined an RBI single to right off reliever Joey Eischen.

    Guerrero, with one of the best arms in baseball, charged and came up firing. He threw a low strike to catcher Michael Barrett at the plate and nailed a sliding Alomar to end the inning and keep the Expos ahead.

    "He has a tremendous arm, so he just cuts down distance,'' Robinson said. "It's a nice comfort zone that no matter how deep the ball is, he still has a chance.''

    Scott Stewart struck out Rey Ordonez with the bases loaded to end the eighth, and finished for his 13th save.

    The Mets stranded 10 runners.

    Guerrero came out of Tuesday's game with a bruised left knee after crashing into the wall to rob Jeromy Burnitz of extra bases. He sat at his locker after Wednesday night's game with a big bag of ice on each knee, but did not speak with reporters.

    Both starters cruised through the first four innings. Jose Macias reached on an infield single in the fifth, and Wilkerson drove a hanging 2-2 curveball from Shawn Estes (3-8) over the right-center wall with two outs for a 2-0 lead. Wilkerson leads all NL rookies with 12 home runs.

    "He hasn't played a lot against left-handed pitching up here,'' Robinson said. "I'm going to give him the chance -- he's earned it -- so it's good to see him have some success.''

    Vazquez (8-6) allowed only one hit through four innings, then pitched out of trouble in the fifth and sixth after putting the first two batters on.

    With runners at second and third in the fifth, Alomar hit a screaming liner. But Galarraga made a tumbling stab to end the inning.

    Alomar flipped his bat high in the air toward the Mets dugout in frustration, while Vazquez went over to thank Galarraga before coming off the field.

    "That saved the game right there,'' Vazquez said.

    The right-hander retired Mo Vaughn on a soft liner and struck out Edgardo Alfonzo and Burnitz to end the sixth. Burnitz, a major disappointment all season, was booed loudly by the crowd of 28,526. Vazquez gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings to win for the third time in four starts. He worked around four walks.

    "We had them on the ropes in several key situations and weren't able to punch it through,'' Mets catcher Mike Piazza said. "That's frustrating.'' Estes is winless in seven starts since an 8-0 victory over the Yankees on June 15. He gave up seven hits in seven innings, struck out five and did not walk a batter.

    Game notes

    Mets reliever Mark Guthrie pitched a perfect ninth, giving him 23 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings -- the longest streak in the NL this season. He has not allowed a run in 29 outings since May 25. ... Estes has given up just three runs in 13 innings against Montreal in his last two starts. ... Vidro missed his third straight game because of a stiff back. ... Floyd, acquired from Florida on July 11, is batting only .200 with two RBI in 11 games for the Expos. ... Piazza threw out Guerrero trying to steal in the eighth, the fourth runner he's nailed in five tries this series. ... Leiter agreed to an $18 million, two-year contract extension. He could have become a free agent after the season. ... Guerrero has 12 assists this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press