MONTREAL, SEPT. 8 -- Bryn Smith and Andy McGaffigan pitched a four-hitter tonight and the Montreal Expos defeated St. Louis, 4-1, to move within three games of the front-running Cardinals in the National League East.

In New York, the Mets defeated Philadelphia, 5-2, and trail the Cardinals by 2 1/2 games.

Mitch Webster had two hits and scored two runs as Montreal beat St. Louis for the ninth time in 13 games this season.

"We're not intimidated when we play St. Louis," said Manager Buck Rodgers. "We know we play well against them and we know we can beat them."

Smith (9-6) went six innings, allowing one run and three hits, and McGaffigan got the final nine outs for his 10th save.

The Expos took the lead with two first-inning runs off Bob Forsch (10-5). Tim Raines and Webster opened with singles, eventually scoring respectively on a wild pitch and Tim Wallach's grounder.

The Cardinals loaded the bases with none out in the second, but got only one run, as Dan Driessen hit into a double play.

Mets 5, Phillies 2:

Rafael Santana's two-run single broke a sixth-inning tie in a game interrupted twice by rain in New York.

Bob Ojeda, in his first appearance since May 9 following elbow surgery, pitched two innings of one-hit relief for the Mets. He left in the fifth inning with a 2-1 lead on a two-run homer by Kevin McReynolds.

Terry Leach (11-1) was the winner after giving up a game-tying homer to Mike Schmidt in the sixth. Doug Sisk pitched three innings of one-hit relief for the save.

Philadelphia's Juan Samuel hit starter Sid Fernandez's second pitch of the game for a homer.

Lee Mazzilli, who took over in right field when Darryl Strawberry was ejected in the fourth for throwing his bat after striking out, walked in the sixth inning against Bruce Ruffin (10-12). Mazzilli moved to third on McReynolds' single, but was out on Gary Carter's grounder.

Howard Johnson was walked intentionally and Santana produced his tie breaking hit. Mazzilli singled in a run in the seventh.

Pirates 4, Cubs 1:

At Wrigley Field, Pittsburgh's Vicente Palacios stopped Chicago on six hits in eight innings in his first major league start and Frank Lucchesi's first game as the Cubs' interim manager.

One Cub none too happy with the replacement for Gene Michael, who resigned before the game {Details in Fanfare, B2}, was losing pitcher Rick Sutcliffe.

With the score 1-1 and one out in the eighth inning, Andy Van Slyke singled to center and took second on Dave Martinez's bobble. Sutcliffe walked Bobby Bonilla and was relieved by Frank DiPino. Mike Diaz, pinch-hitting for Sid Bream, singled to drive in Van Slyke. R.J. Reynolds singled for another run.

Van Slyke singled home a run in the ninth to wrap up the Pirates' 11th victory in 14 games against the Cubs this season, also the 11th in the last 14 Pittsburgh games overall.

Sutcliffe (15-8) failed in his seventh try for his 16th victory. Lucchesi visited him after Van Slyke's hit in the eighth.

"He asked me who I'd rather face and I said Bream," Sutcliffe said. "I told him I honestly felt I could get Bream on a ground ball out and do the same against Reynolds . . . So I basically pitched around Bonilla and then I was out of the game. I thought I was going to get a chance to get out of the inning and the next thing I know I was icing down."

Dodgers 5, Reds 3:

In Cincinnati, Franklin Stubbs broke a zero-for-33 slump to drive in three Los Angeles runs with two hits.

Stubbs keyed a four-run third inning with a two-run triple, misplayed by center fielder Leo Garcia. He singled home a run in the sixth.

Orel Hershiser (14-13) won, with Alejandro Pena striking out four in the last two innings for a save.

Braves 4, Padres 2:

Pete Smith gave up but three hits in the first eight innings of his first major league game and Dale Murphy attained a career high with his 38th homer as Atlanta won at home.

Smith, up from Class AA, retired the first 11, and 15 of the first 16, San Diego batters. He tired in the ninth, giving up three more hits, and Jim Acker got the last out.