Mets 2, Expos 1
NEW YORK (AP) _ Bobby Jones pitched well enough to win, but it took some clutch hits from the Mets to make him the NL’s first 10-game winner.
``We went from a loss to a win with a couple of clutch hits,″ Jones said following the Mets’ 2-1 victory Tuesday night over the Montreal Expos.
``It was a tremendous game and the offense came through for me,″ he said. ``I don’t get emotional or anything like that about being the top-winner in our league, but inside I’m extremely happy.″
Pinch-hitter Matt Franco’s game-tying homer and Carols Baerga’s RBI double in the eighth inning helped Jones (10-2) win his seventh straight start.
He allowed four hits in eight innings to beat Pedro Martinez (8-2) for the second time in a week.
``No question, this is my best start ever but there is still a long way to go,″ Jones said. ``It’s definitely been one of the better games I’ve been involved in.″
The Mets have been involved in some good ones lately.
The surging Mets have won five of six overall and seven of eight at home. New York, which trails second-place Florida by one-half game in the NL East, opens a two-game series with the Marlins on Wednesday.
Jones struck out five and walked three as the Mets handed Martinez his second straight loss against them after he won his first 10 decisions against New York.
``I beat one of the best, but the more important thing is that it was a victory for the team,″ Jones said. ``That’s all it means as far as I’m concerned. I try not to get caught up in all of those statistics. I’m pleased with the way that I’m throwing and I have total confidence in both our offense and defense.″
Jones and Martinez dueled for eight innings like they did last week in Montreal when Jones threw a four-hitter.
``Beating Martinez and giving Montreal only one run in 17 innings is quite a feat,″ said Mets manager Bobby Valentine. ``Their lineup is loaded with .300 hitters.″
The Expos, held to three hits through seven innings by Jones, took the lead in the eighth on Rondell White’s RBI double.
But in the bottom of the inning, Franco, pinch-hitting for Jones, led off with his second homer of the season and his first career pinch-hit shot.
Edgardo Alfonzo singled with one out and Todd Hundley drew a two-out walk. Baerga, 7-for-10 in his career vs. Martinez, lined a double into the right-field corner to score Alfonzo. Rookie right fielder Vladimir Guerrero’s strong throw from the warning track nailed Hundley at the plate.
``The last two games he has hit me well but they’ll be a time that I’ll come back and get him,″ Martinez said of Baerga. ``You can be sure of that.″
John Franco gave up a hit in the ninth before getting his 15th save.
Martinez allowed seven hits and tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts.
``I’m supposed to go nine innings or more, but I wasn’t good enough to beat them,″ Martinez said. ``It was my game and I lost it. Nobody did anything wrong.″
Baerga went 3-for-4 and is 40-for-105 since April 28.
``I see the ball real good from him,″ said Baerga. ``The last time he had two strikes on me and threw both of them up high. The next pitch was down a little bit and I went and got it.″
After holding the Expos to two hits through seven, Jones walked Mark Grudzielanek to start the eighth. After Grudzielanek was sacrificed to second, White doubled.
Guerrero had three hits for the Expos.
Notes: White’s eighth-inning double boosted Montreal’s major-league leading total to 127. ... Martinez has 96 consecutive starts since the 1994 season, second longest in Expos history. Steve Rogers holds the record with 127. ... Jones was the NL’s pitcher of the month in May after going 5-0 with a 1.15 ERA. ... Shawn Gilbert, 32, is the oldest rookie in Mets history. He was called up from Norfolk on Monday. ... Jones became the fastest Met to win 10 games. Jerry Koosman won his 10th game in his 13th start in 1968.