Under normal circumstances, the Chicago Cubs appeared to be in serious trouble Friday at Atlanta. Their relief ace Lee Smith had just been knocked around for two eighth-inning runs to give the Braves a 5-4 lead.
Then the Braves sent their star reliever, Bruce Sutter, to the mound in the ninth.
But Sutter didn't have his dipping split-fingered fastball working, and the Cubs tagged him for four hits, including a game-tying RBI single by Keith Moreland and a two-run single by Jody Davis to claim a 7-5 victory.
"It was one of the times when his ball just wasn't moving," Moreland said. "I've never seen him come in with his ball that flat. It seemed like the longer he stayed out there, the flatter it got."
Sutter also hit one batter in the inning and almost hit another.
"I never hit batters," Sutter said. "I was all over the place tonight. Tonight's over, tomorrow's another day. I pitch in 60 or 70 games a year. I'm not going to have great stuff all the time."
Davis is from nearby Gainesville, Ga., said he had left about 25 tickets for his friends and relatives, including his parents.
Davis said: "I'm just glad we won the ballgame. But any time I can do something down here, I know my mom and dad are up there. I guess it's mom's cooking."
The Braves had four hits in the eighth, but the Cub's ninth-inning rally made a winner of Smith (1-0). The Braves had runners at first and second with one out in the ninth on a single and an error, but Smith retired Bob Horner and Terry Harper on fly balls to end the game.
Sutter replaced Gene Garber to start the ninth and pinch-hitter Richie Hebner got the Chicago rally going with a one-out single. Leon Durham also singled, sending pinch-runner Davey Lopes to third, and Moreland followed with his game-tying hit. Ron Cey was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, and Davis lined his two-run single to left-center.
Cincinnati 6, Pittsburgh 3--Former Pirate Dave Parker had three hits, including a two-run homer in the seventh, to lead the Reds at Pittsburgh.
The Reds' Alan Knicely, playing for the first time since being recalled from the minors, contributed a two-run double and scored twice. Knicely was batting .446 at Denver. Pete Rose had two hits and scored two runs.
Winning pitcher John Stuper (5-2) survived a 2-hour 15-minute rain delay before the start of the game and checked the Pirates on one hit over five innings. He was chased in the seventh after allowing Bill Almon's run-scoring single.
Montreal 2, San Diego 1--Andre Dawson doubled home Tim Raines in the 10th inning at Montreal as the Expos snapped a four-game losing streak.
Dawson hit the first pitch from Tim Stoddard (0-2), the third San Diego pitcher, into left field after Raines singled with one out and stole second.
Montreal relief ace Jeff Reardon (2-1) worked three innings for the victory.
New York 3, San Francisco 2--The Mets are just about unbeatable in extra-inning games. Gary Carter singled with one out in the 12th inning to score Wally Backman from second base with an unearned run to give the Mets an extra-inning record of 23-1 since July 26, 1983.
Backman and Keith Hernandez singled to set the stage for Carter's fifth game-winning hit of the season. Ray Knight's two-run homer in the seventh had tied the game.
St. Louis 8, Houston 6--Jack Clark, Andy Van Slyke and Terry Pendleton delivered run-scoring singles with two out in the ninth inning as the Cardinals, who trailed 6-1 after three innings, rallied to win at Houston.