Tatis' slam helps Colon win in Expos' debut

ATLANTA (AP) -- Bartolo Colon wasn't too impressed with his first

start for the Montreal Expos, but his performance left his new

teammates gushing.

Bartolo Colon

Starting Pitcher

Montreal Expos



Colon won in his first start since coming over from Cleveland,

and Fernando Tatis hit a go-ahead grand slam as the Expos beat the

Atlanta Braves 5-2 Tuesday night.

Michael Barrett also homered for second-place Montreal, which

pulled within 8½ games of the Braves in the NL East. Atlanta lost

for just the second time in 13 games.

''In the first inning, I felt very nervous, even warming up in

the bullpen,'' Colon said through an interpreter. ''After the first

inning, everything went away and it just felt great.''

The Indians sent Colon, pitcher Tim Drew and cash to the Expos

last week for first baseman Lee Stevens and three minor leaguers.

In 16 starts with Cleveland, Colon was 10-4 with a 2.55 ERA and won

his last three starts.

He didn't miss a beat in his first appearance ever against

Atlanta. Colon gave up two runs in the first -- one earned -- and

then held the Braves scoreless over his final six innings to pick

up his first NL victory.

''They're such a good team and they're playing so well, I knew

it wasn't going to be an easy job,'' Colon said. ''But other than

that, it was another day at work.''

The big right-hander appeared to get stronger as the game wore

on, throwing a 98 mph fastball in the seventh inning on his 97th

pitch. He allowed just five hits and struck out six.

''He's the most impressive pitcher I've ever caught,'' Barrett

said. ''I know that's going to make some of my boys jealous. I was

trying really hard not to smile too much back there. I was so


Scott Stewart came on with two outs in the ninth with a man on

first and a 2-0 count to Matt Franco. Wes Helms then came on to

pinch hit and Stewart got him to fly out on the first pitch for his

10th save.

''Wow, what can you say?'' Stewart said of Colon. ''I mean,


Colon got the run support he needed in the sixth when Barrett

led off with a solo shot off Damian Moss (4-3). After Colon struck

out, Jose Macias singled and moved to second an out later on

Vladimir Guerrero's single, a liner up the middle which sent Moss

sprawling on the mound. Wil Cordero walked, setting up Tatis' sixth

career grand slam.

It was the second homer in two nights for Tatis, and both were

fly balls that carried just beyond the wall in right field.

Moss had cruised through the first five innings, giving up only

one hit and facing one more than the minimum before unraveling in

the sixth.

''I looked at the replay, and it was where I wanted it,'' he

said of the pitch to Tatis. ''I don't think he should have hit it

out. I think a lot of guys were sitting on my changeup but I

thought if I threw it where I wanted it, I could still get them


The Expos got off to a rocky start for their new pitcher,

committing two errors in the first. Rafael Furcal led off with a

triple and scored when Guerrero misplayed a fly ball by Julio

Franco into a three-base error.

Franco came home when Gary Sheffield reached on a throwing error

by shortstop Orlando Cabrera, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead.

''He got a few bad breaks in the first inning, but he shut them

down and didn't give them anything else,'' Montreal manager Frank

Robinson said. ''He comes right at you. He doesn't let up.''

Game notes
A thunderstorm that moved across Turner Field kept the

Expos from taking batting practice. The rain stopped about 6:15

p.m. ET, and the game started on time at 7:35. ... Atlanta CF

Andruw Jones, who made the All-Star team earlier in the day, nearly

was doubled up at first in the sixth when Vinny Castilla lined out

to Guerrero in right field. Jones went halfway to second, then

jogged back after the catch and narrowly beat Guerrero's throw.