Rick Mahler and Gene Garber combined to hold the Expos to one hit--Al Oliver's leadoff homer in the second inning--but Atlanta lost when an error by shortstop Rafael Ramirez allowed the winning run to score with two out in the ninth inning. The game was played before a "Scarf Day" crowd of 56,807 in Montreal.
Ramirez misplayed a grounder by Gary Carter for his 31st error of the season, allowing Dawson to score from third base.
With the victory, Montreal moved within 3 1/2 games of first-place St. Louis in the NL East. The Cardinals lost, 5-1, to San Francisco; Philadelphia, which beat Houston, is in second place, one-half game back. The Expos begin a three-game series in St. Louis Monday night.
Winner Steve Rogers (16-7) pitched a six-hitter, striking out eight and walking one. Mahler went seven innings, allowing only Oliver's homer. He walked four.
"That's an unusual way to win," said Montreal Manager Jim Fanning. "I am not sure, but this could be the only game in our 14-year history when we won after picking up only one hit."
He continued: "This has been a tremendous home stand for us. It's funny, every time we lose the game people start counting us out, but my team has a great feeling now as we are leaving here."
Garber (6-8), who relieved to start the eighth, hit Dawson with a pitch with one out in the ninth. Dawson stole second and advanced to third on Oliver's ground out
Carter followed with a grounder to Ramirez, who dropped the ball. He made a strong throw to first base, but Carter was called safe.
First baseman Chris Chambliss of Atlanta did not agree.
"It was a close play and it should have ended the inning," said Chambliss. "But I figure he (first base umpire Satch Davidson) had made up his mind 10 seconds earlier that no matter what happened, Carter would be safe."