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Piazza banged up in debut at first base

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Cliff Floyd's injury gave Eric
Valent an opportunity.

Valent hit his first major league home run, a go-ahead, two-run
drive that backed Tom Glavine and led the New York Mets over the
Montreal Expos 4-1 Sunday.

"It's exciting," Valent said. "And it helped us win the
game."

Floyd injured his right thigh running out an infield grounder in
the first and needed to be helped off the field by manager Art Howe
and a trainer. Valent pinch ran and went to right field in the
bottom half.

With the score 1-all in the sixth and a runner on third, Valent
sent a 66 mph curveball from Livan Hernandez (0-1) into the
right-field bleachers.

"He just threw that big curveball, and I recognized it,"
Valent said.

Glavine (2-0) had singled to open the inning and came around on
Kaz Matsui's double and Todd Zeile's sacrifice fly. Ty Wigginton
added an RBI single in the ninth off Jeremy Fikac.

With Floyd's status still uncertain and right fielder Karim
Garcia out with a broken left ring finger, Valent and Shane Spencer
could see more time in the outfield.

Mike Piazza, making his first start for the Mets at first base,
also got banged up when he collided with Peter Bergeron in the
third inning after Bergeron bunted to Glavine.

Piazza reached into foul territory in an attempt to grab
Glavine's errant throw, which got away. Piazza appeared to be
brushed in the head by Bergeron's knee and stayed on the ground for
about 30 seconds, but he remained in the game.

"It was a weird play," Piazza said. "Even though he's not a
big guy, he was running pretty fast."

Howe got a scare watching the play from the bench.

"We got lucky. I thought, `Get the heck out of the way," the
manager said.

Piazza left in the eighth inning after hitting into a double
play. He had a sore neck and hyperextended right elbow.

Glavine, who beat Atlanta in the Mets' opener, allowed just an
unearned run and five hits in seven innings. Montreal scored in the
third on Jose Vidro's sacrifice fly after a throwing error by
Glavine on Bergeron's bunt single.

"I felt very comfortable with all the pitches I was trying to
make," Glavine said.

David Weathers struck out his first two batters in the eighth
before Vidro singled and Orlando Cabrera walked. Mike Stanton then
retired Carl Everett on an inning-ending flyout.

Braden Looper pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two, for his
first save since signing with the Mets during the offseason.

Montreal manager Frank Robinson again complained about his
offense. The Expos have 10 runs in their first six games.

"We are wasting very good performances by our pitchers,"
Robinson said.

He said Monday's day off could help his team focus for the
series that opens the following day against the World Series
champion Florida Marlins.

"We have to start hitting, because our pitchers need our
support," Vidro said.

New York won two of the three in Puerto Rico, where the Mets got
swept in four games last April. Montreal will play 22 home games in
Hiram Bithorn Stadium for the second consecutive year.

Hernandez (0-1) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven
innings.

Game notes
The attendance of 10,623 was the second-lowest for the 25
games the Expos have played in San Juan. ... After hitting three
home runs in his first three games, Piazza went homerless in the
three-game series. He was 0-for-4 Sunday. ... Matsui hit his fourth
double of the season.