Vladimir Guerrero homered twice and doubled, leading Tony Armas Jr. and the Montreal Expos over New York 5-0 Sunday.
Guerrero hit both homers off Bobby J. Jones (9-6), who put the blame for the loss squarely on his own shoulders.
"Those were two bad pitches," Jones said. "A hanging curveball, and the other pitch I tried to bounce. ... You look at his numbers, he's hitting .350-something. He's just a guy you can't make mistakes on."
The Mets fell 2 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Atlanta. New York's lead over Arizona for the wild card spot dropped to 4 1/2 games.
The Mets begin a three-game series in Atlanta Monday night.
Armas (6-8) allowed three hits in seven-plus innings, extending his scoreless streak to 14 innings.
"Armas showed up for the second consecutive time," Expos manager Felipe Alou said. "He did it the other day in Philadelphia, and did more or less the same today. We really wanted a nine-inning shutout, but he was really up there in pitches and we all know he just came back from the disabled list just a few days ago."
Guillermo Mota pitched 1 2-3 innings and Steve Kline got the last out, completing a combined four-hitter and closing out Montreal's third shutout in the last nine games.
A day earlier, Kline threw his glove in the direction of first-base umpire Ian Lamplugh - but did not hit him - after being ejected in the eighth inning.
Lamplugh was the home plate umpire Sunday. Kline walked a batter - no close calls were involved - before getting the last out.
Guerrero hit solo home runs in the first and fourth innings, giving him 39 this season. It was his seventh multihomer game of the season and 11th of his career.
"Every time he hits like that, we win," Alou said. "He was really up there, after havin a tough night last night, getting hit by a pitch and they jammed him a couple of times. He came back. That's the sign of a great athlete."
One out after Guerrero's second homer, Jones hit Fernando Seguignol with a pitch. Lamplugh warned both benches for the second straight game.
Asked if he thought that Armas had deliberately hit Mets catcher Mike Piazza with a 3-1 pitch in the fourth, Jones, who was at the team's hotel the night before when the teams were warned, chose his words carefully.
"I understand that there were some pitches thrown behind some of our hitters (Saturday night)," Jones said. "It's the rule of this game you've got to protect your hitters since the game's been played."
Orlando Cabrera, who hit a two-run homer Friday night, then hit his 11th homer to increase Montreal's lead to 5-0.
"I'm glad to see Cabrera swinging the bat again and driving in runs, and making some good plays," Alou said. "We'd like to win as many games as possible. We have the Marlins and Braves coming in, then we go and play Florida and the Mets. It's a good opportunity to see where these guys are before we go home."
Armas, making his 16th career start, allowed only a line-drive single to Kurt Abbott leading off the third before Darryl Hamilton lined a single to left to begin the seventh. He left the game after allowing a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Lenny Harris to lead off the eighth.
"My goal was to pitch well through September and get ready for next year," Armas said. "That was my main goal, to put up some good numbers and try to win a spot in the rotation next year."
Armas, who struck out a career-high seven and walked two, allowed only one other ball out of the infield while pitching perfect innings in the first, second, fifth and sixth.
"Armas had great stuff," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "They've got great arms, there's no doubt about it. You try to hit their mistakes and this kid didn't make that many mistakes today. He's as advertised."
The Mets were held to three runs or fewer for the 14th time in 21 games.
After Montreal took a 1-0 lead on Peter Bergeron's leadoff triple and an RBI grounder by Geoff Blum, Guerrero homered with two outs.
Jones, who lost his bid to become the fifth Mets starter to reach 10 wins, allowed five hits and five runs in five innings to end a personal five-game winning streak.
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