Cesar Cedeno hit a two-run home run to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning Sunday at Chicago as part of a 5-for-5 performance that led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 victory over the Cubs.
By completing the sweep of the three-game series in which Cedeno was prominent in all of them, the Cardinals remained half a game in front in the tight race in the National League East.
Cedeno had two doubles and two singles in addition to his seventh home run and drove in four runs to enable Danny Cox to improve his record to 16-9. Cox gave up five hits in seven innings and rookie Todd Worrell finished with two hitless innings.
The Cardinals, desperate when Jack Clark, their one power hitter had to go on the disabled list Aug. 28 with a rib injury, obtained Cedeno from the Cincinnati Reds the next day for a minor league outfielder.
Cedeno, spending most of his time on the bench, was hitting .241 in 83 games for the Reds and had driven in only 30 runs.
Being needed by the Cardinals apparently rejuvenated Cedeno, once one of the top prospects in the league. He has played a key role in six of the 15 games in which he has participated. In those six he either drove in the winning run, scored it or scored the tying run. In another he broke open a close game with a pinch-hit grand slam.
Since joining the Cardinals, he has been a .500 hitter (18 for 36). He has hit three home runs, driven in 13 runs and scored eight.
Cedeno keeps thanking player-manager Pete Rose of the Reds for sending him to the Cardinals.
"It's no secret I was unhappy in Cincinnati," Cedeno recently told UPI. "I'm thankful for the opportunity to be here. This is a great team.
"This team can go to the playoffs and World Series and I want to help them all I can. Nothing like this has ever happened to me in my career."
Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog said that Clark would return to action sometime this week.
"However, we will find a spot for Cesar," Herzog said. "He has been a pleasant surprise. He has given us a big lift."
In Friday's game with the Cubs, Cedeno was 2-for-5 and drove in two runs in a 9-3 victory. Saturday, with the Cardinals trailing, 4-3, he opened the sixth with a walk and scored the tying run as the Cardinals rallied for a 5-4 win. In the series he was 8 for 13, driving in six runs.
New York 6, Montreal 2--The Mets haven't been scoring any runs at all lately for Dwight Gooden, their ace. But they score early and often for their No. 2 man, Ron Darling (16-5).
At Montreal, Danny Heep hit a three-run home run in the first inning and the Mets gave Darling a four-run cushion before he took the mound.
Last week Howard Johnson hit a grand slam in the first inning against St. Louis to get Darling off to another four-run lead. Twice in a row Gooden has gone through nine innings without giving up a run and hasn't won either time.
Darling lasted 7 innings, giving up five hits and two runs before Jesse Orosco took over to earn his 16th save and keep the Mets close to the Cardinals.
The Mets jumped on rookie John Dopson for the four runs in the first. Mookie Wilson, who doubled to start the rally, and Johnson later homered for the Mets.
Pittsburgh 5, Philadelphia 4--Rick Reuschel's string of innings without giving up an earned run ended at 20 in this game at Pittsburgh, but he pitched his seventh complete game in a row and improved his record to 13-7.
Mike Schmidt singled in a run in the second to break Reuschel's string and hit his 29th home run to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the eighth. But former Dodger R. J. Reynolds tripled to trigger a two-run rally in the Pirate eighth that made a winner of Reuschel.
Atlanta 4, San Francisco 1--Steve Bedrosian and Bruce Sutter, two of the Braves' biggest disappointments this season, combined on a six-hitter. Sutter pitched the last two innings for his 23rd save.