Sid Fernandez looks out of shape, but he is doing his part to keep the New York Mets in the National League East race.
The left-hander from Hawaii pitched a two-hitter Tuesday night at Philadelphia to lead the Mets to a 7-1 victory. The former Dodger farmhand had a shutout until Luis Aguayo hit a home run in the eighth inning.
Despite the victory, the Mets failed to gain ground. They remain three games behind St. Louis and have only 11 games remaining.
The second consecutive well-pitched game gave Fernandez only an 8-9 record, but he has pitched some excellent games for the Mets.
Fernandez, 23, leads the league in two departments that you would be expecting his more famous teammate, Dwight Gooden, to lead.
Despite his losing record, Fernandez has given up only an average of 5.73 hits per nine innings. He struck out nine Phillies, but that lowered his strikeouts per nine innings to 9.82, also best.
Last Thursday Fernandez held the Chicago Cubs to one hit, an eighth-inning home run by Gary Matthews, and struck out 11.
"Some people may be concerned about pennant pressure," Fernandez told the Associated Press, "but I'm not putting any pressure on myself. I just go out there and do the best I can. Right now, I feel good. I'm in a groove."
The Mets obtained the hard-throwing Fernandez from the Dodgers before the 1984 season in exchange for pitcher Carlos Diaz and infielder Bob Bailor.
The Mets brought Fernandez up in the middle of last season, and he posted a 6-6 record. They had hopes he would develop into a star this season. Fernandez was a big fat bust in training camp. He was finally recalled May 11. Mostly, he has pitched well.
His luck hasn't been too good. He has lost two games 1-0, and two others 2-1.
St. Louis 5, Pittsburgh 4--In their previous four games, the Cardinals came from behind to win, but in this game at St. Louis they won by doing something they have perfected.
The Cardinals improved their record to 79-0 in games in which they led going into the ninth inning. When Ken Dayley came in to get the last two outs for his 11th save, it gave the Cardinals five wins in a row, 12 in their last 13 and kept them three games in front of New York.
Terry Pendleton, who drove in the winning runs Friday and Monday, singled in two runs in the first inning to get Rick Horton (3-2) off to a fast start. Horton had a 4-1 lead, but the Pirates battled back.
A home run by former Dodger Sid Bream in the eighth cut the margin to a run, but the Cardinals' held on for their fourth consecutive one-run victory.
Cincinnati 7, Atlanta 5--It was not one of his more impressive outings, but rookie left-hander Tom Browning moved to within one victory of the coveted 20 plateau in this game at Cincinnati.
In keeping the Reds faint hopes of winning the West alive, Browning gave up eight hits in 6 innings as the Reds remained six games behind the Dodgers.
The Reds jumped on Pascual Perez (1-12) for five runs in the first two innings. Eddie Milner's two-run home run climaxed a four-run second.
"I'm thinking about winning 20," Browning (19-9) said. "Maybe, I'm pressing because I want it so badly."
Montreal 17, Chicago 15--Naturally, the wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field. Nobody enjoyed it more than Andre Dawson. Dawson hit three home runs, including two three-run home runs to highlight a 12-run fifth inning, and drove in eight runs.
The Cubs trailed, 15-2, at one time, but rallied in the late innings and actually had the tying run at the plate before Jeff Reardon got the last out for his 36th save.
In 12 games at Wrigley the Expos hit 21 home runs. At home in 75 games they have hit 41.
San Diego 4, San Francisco 3--Kurt Bevacqua capped a four-run fourth inning at San Diego with a two-run home run. Dave Dravecky went five innings to improve his record to 13-10.