Mets 4, Expos 2
DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
Sep. 30, 2000
NEW YORK (AP) _ Jorge Toca hit a three-run double in the eighth inning to lead the New York Mets to a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Expos on Saturday.
Toca, a late-season callup, hit a drive off Javier Vazquez into the gap in left-center field to lead the Mets to their fourth straight victory.
Montreal lost its season-high eighth in a row.
Center fielder Jay Payton was the only Mets starter to play all nine innings. Manager Bobby Valentine emptied his bench, using 17 of 19 available position players, as the NL wild card winner prepares for the playoffs.
Vazquez (11-9) cruised through the first seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits. But Bubba Trammell walked to lead off the Mets eighth and pinch-hitter Lenny Harris singled.
Joe McEwing sacrificed, and Todd Pratt was intentionally walked to load the bases to set up Toca's hit.
Turk Wendell (8-6) pitched a scoreless eighth to pick up the victory. Armando Benitez pitched the ninth for his 41st save in 46 opportunities.
Jose Vidro gave the Expos a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a home run into the picnic area in left-center field off Glendon Rusch. Vidro's 24th homer was his 200th hit of the season.
Montreal took a 2-0 lead on Michael Barrett's RBI single in the fifth. Mike Mordecai hit a leadoff double down the left-field line and Barrett followed with a single.
The Mets got a run back in the fifth when Payton doubled and pinch-hitter Matt Franco singled to right. Vladimir Guerrero bare-handed the ball and threw home, but Payton beat the throw to make it 2-1.
Rusch, looking to earn a spot in the postseason starting rotation, allowed two runs, four hits, struck out two and walked one in five innings.
Vazquez allowed four runs, seven hits, and walked four in 7 1-3 innings.
Notes: Al Leiter, the Mets' possible Game 1 starter Wednesday against either San Francisco or St. Louis, will skip his scheduled start Sunday. Rick Reed will start instead. ... Valentine and GM Steve Phillips remained non-committal on announcing the Game 1 starter, as well as the team's rotation and 25-man roster. ... Mets OF Timoniel Perez hit a leadoff single in the first, but left after experiencing tightness in his right hamstring while running to third on Derek Bell's groundout. Perez is day-to-day. ... The only Mets position players who didn't play were OF Benny Agbayani, who is nursing a sore hamstring, and C Vance Wilson. ... OF Brian Cole was selected the Mets' organizational player of the year, and RHP Pat Strange the pitcher of the year.