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Field changes in San Juan help N.Y.

4/10/2004

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- The New York Mets got a big hit
from Todd Zeile -- and a little help from the recently expanded
outfield in Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Zeile doubled to break an 11th-inning tie Friday night, leading
New York to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Expos.

In the bottom of the ninth with the score tied it at 2,
Montreal's Brian Schneider hit a line drive to left field that
Shane Spencer caught at the warning track.

Last year, before renovations expanded the outfields to match
the dimensions of Montreal's Olympic Stadium, Schneider's shot
probably would have ended the game.

"Who knows what would have happened last year," said manager
Art Howe, who saw his team get swept in four games in San Juan in
2003 as New York went on to its second straight last-place finish
in the NL East.

Howe said the team expected Zeile to deliver in a pressure
situation.

"Todd's money," he said.

The veteran third baseman, who played for Montreal last season,
said he had an advantage facing reliever Luis Ayala (0-2).

"I watched him pitch last season, which might have helped me,"
Zeile said. "I knew his strength is the two-seam fastball."

While New York got the timely hit, Montreal continued its
offensive funk despite late-innings heroics by Jose Vidro.

The Expos tied it in the eighth after Schneider singled off Mike
Stanton and pinch-hitter Jamey Carroll walked. Peter Bergeron
sacrificed and new Mets closer Braden Looper allowed a two-run
double to Vidro.

"Our offense has been non existent," Expos manager Frank
Robinson said.

Montreal, owned by the other 29 major league teams, is back at
Hiram Bithorn Stadium for 22 more home games this season. The
commissioner's office hopes to have a plan by the All-Star break
for a permanent home starting in 2005.

The game drew 14,739 on Good Friday, about 5,000 short of a
sellout at the remolded ballpark, where there was a new artificial
surface and scoreboard, plus expanded seating.

Fans cheered several times for the visitors, chanting "Let's go
Mets!"

Karim Garcia opened the 11th with a single off Ayala (0-2), who
had pitched a perfect 10th. Ty Wigginton reached on a fielder's
choice, and Zeile doubled to left-center.

David Weathers (1-0) pitched the 10th for the win, and Orber
Moreno got three outs for his first save.

New York put runners on second and third with two outs in the
ninth and Spencer lined a single to left, but Juan Rivera threw out
Kaz Matsui at the plate. Expos catcher Schneider made a diving tag
to send the game into extra innings.

Cliff Floyd's solo homer off Zach Day put New York ahead in the
first.

Floyd and Mike Piazza were hit by pitches from Day in the
fourth, Mike Cameron loaded the bases with a single and Garcia hit
an RBI grounder.

New York's Tyler Yates, making his major league debut, allowed
five hits and struck out four in six shutout innings.

Day allowed three hits and struck out a career-high seven, but
walked four and hit two batters.

Montreal had players in scoring position only twice in the first
seven innings.

Game notes
New York has scored 10 runs in its two wins and 18 in its
two losses. ... C Piazza remained one homer behind Carlton Fisk for
the career lead among catchers. ... Yates underwent
ligament-replacement surgery in 2002 and spent last year in the
minors. ... Matsui had three of New York's eight walks.