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Updated: Saturday, August 21, 2004 3:11 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
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MONTREAL 4, COLORADO 3
 

DENVER (Ticker) -- The Montreal Expos won the game thanks to Tony Batista , but may have lost two of their key young players.

Batista drove in three runs, including a go-ahead solo homer in the top of the eighth as the Expos edged the Colorado Rockies , 4-3.

The 30-year-old Batista opened the scoring in the game with a ground-rule double in the first, plating Brad Wilkerson and Endy Chavez . Wilkerson also scored in the eighth, before Batista's homer off Brian Fuentes (1-3).

"It was good," Batista said. "We won the game right there."

However, two Expos were forced to leave the game after being struck by batted balls. Starter Tony Armas Jr. left the game after just 1 2/3 innings when he was hit in the leg by a line drive off the bat of J.D. Closser.

First baseman Nick Johnson was left lying on the ground for several minutes after a ground ball struck him in the right cheek in the third inning. He never lost consciousness, and after being carted off the field, was taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

"It was very scary, we didn't know if it was in the eye or what," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "It was very scary until we saw where he got hit, in the middle of the cheekbone and not the eye. They kept it together pretty good. There wasn't a lot of talking in the dugout tonight, it was kind of solemn, but they kept focus."

"The guys were hoping he'd be all right and we kept our focus and did a great job," Batista said. "I think they're going to be happy that we won the game."

After Francis Beltran gave up two runs in 2 1/3 innings in relief of Armas, Joey Eischen , Luis Ayala (5-9) and Chad Cordero held Colorado scoreless over the final five innings. They yielded just three hits and struck out six, with Cordero pitching the ninth for his 13th save.

"They did an excellent job, and it was all I had left in the bullpen," Robinson said.

Colorado starter Jamey Wright pitched six solid innings for the Rockies, allowing just two runs on five hits before departing with a 3-2 lead.

Scott Dohmann pitched a perfect seventh before Fuentes came on in the eighth and gave up a leadoff double to Wilkerson, who eventually scored on a double play. Batista hit a two-out homer later in the inning.

"He threw two balls into guys that were swinging," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said of Fuentes. "He makes a good pitch to get a double play and then leaves a changeup over the plate. That's one of the reasons Batista's still playing. He hits the ball out of the park and knocks in runs."

Wright failed to pick up his second victory since signing with Colorado as a free agent on July 22. After allowing two runs on three hits in the top of the first inning, he gave up just two hits the rest of the way.

"After the second inning I found a rhythm," Wright said. "I didn't feel good the first couple of innings but in the third I settled in."


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