Rookie left-hander Joe Hesketh struck out a career-high 12 batters to help the Expos to a 1-0 victory over the Houston Astros in sub-40-degree weather last night in Montreal.

A native of Buffalo, he said cold weather doesn't bother him. "I grew up pitching in weather like this," he said.

Hesketh (4-1) worked 7 2/3 innings and gave up four hits. He left after Bill Doran doubled, Mike Reardon finishing the four-hitter for his eighth save.

Loser Nolan Ryan (2-2) allowed two hits and struck out 10, the 157th time he has struck out 10 or more. He leads the major leagues in career strikeouts with 3,922, 39 more than Steve Carlton of the Philadelphia Phillies.

But he walked five and forced in the game's run in the second inning. He walked Dan Driessen to lead off, hit Hubie Brooks with a pitch, then walked Tim Wallach and Herm Winningham to force in a run. That done, he struck out the side.

"That's no way to lose a game," he said. "I was too wild. We lose only 1-0 and I walk in the winning run."