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Former Met returns to haunt Shea faithful again

9/20/2003

NEW YORK (AP) -- Todd Zeile and the Montreal Expos refuse to be
eliminated easily.

Zeile's home run in the 10th inning lifted Montreal to a 4-3
victory over the Mets on Saturday, New York's seventh straight
loss.

The Expos remained mathematically alive in the NL playoff race --
barely. They are six games behind Philadelphia, the wild-card
leader, with six to play.

Zeile, a former Met, homered off Mike Stanton (2-7) with one out
in the 10th.

"I was trying to fight in my at-bat," Zeile said. "He tried
to come in with it and got more of the plate."

It was Zeile's fifth homer for the Expos since joining the team
Aug. 20. He had been released by the New York Yankees. Zeile batted
.210 with six home runs and 23 RBI in 66 games for the Yankees
this season.

The Montreal clubhouse was closed after the game for a meeting.

Chad Cordero (1-0), the Expos' first-round draft pick in June
out of Cal-State Fullerton, pitched a scoreless ninth for his first
major league win. Rocky Biddle worked a hitless 10th for his 32nd
save.

The stumbling Mets have lost 15 of 16. They also dropped seven
straight to Philadelphia and Florida earlier this month.

The Mets blew a chance to take the lead in the eighth. Rookie
pinch-runner Prentice Redman was thrown out at the plate when he
tried to score from first base on Timo Perez's double with none
out.

"I'm sure that came into Matty's mind there," New York manager
Art Howe said of third-base coach Matt Galante. "But I also think
he thought he had it made. That's why he sent him."

The Mets put two runners on in the ninth, but Joe McEwing and
Mike Piazza flied out to end the inning.

Piazza, who went 1-for-5, has gone 71 at-bats without a home
run.

"That's the way it goes. I had a couple of good swings," he
said.

Montreal built a three-run lead in the second inning against
Mets starter Aaron Heilman on a solo homer by Wil Cordero, his 15th
of the season, and Endy Chavez's two-run double.

The Mets answered in the bottom half on Jeff Duncan's RBI
single. Ty Wigginton singled in Tony Clark in the fourth, and
Duncan drove in Wigginton with a single to tie the game.

Heilman lasted only four innings in his first appearance since
Aug. 31, a 3-0 loss in relief to Philadelphia. He allowed three
runs on four hits, walked four and struck out three.

"It was good to get back out there," the rookie right-hander
said. "I thought I threw the ball well, but I made a couple of
mistakes that got hit. I tried to stay with the things I had
success with in the past. But overall I felt good and it was good
to pitch again."

Dan Wheeler and John Franco each pitched a scoreless inning
following Heilman's departure. David Weathers added two scoreless
innings.

Stanton escaped the ninth inning with two runners on, striking
out Cordero to end the threat.

Livan Hernandez, who lasted only 3 1-3 innings in his last start
against Atlanta, kept the Expos in the game. He allowed three runs
and eight hits in eight innings and struck out nine.

"I feel good. I threw eight innings. It's important that the
team wins," said Hernandez, who threw 138 pitches.

"He's a good pitcher and he's got good stuff," said Duncan,
who had a career-high three hits. "It's too bad we couldn't get on
top of him. He threw some pitches right on the plate, but he
battled through it and never gave us a chance to get the lead."

Game notes
New York is 1-6 in extra-inning games. Montreal improved to
9-8. Timo Perez had three hits for the Mets. Cordero has earned his
first major league save and win during the last three games against
the Mets.