Chili Davis of the San Francisco Giants seems to have mastered, of all pitchers, Dwight Gooden.
Davis is hitting a career .563 against the New York Mets ace after going 4 for 4 against him Thursday as the Giants pounded out a 10-2 victory at San Francisco.
What is Davis' secret against Gooden? "It's mostly luck," he said. "But I wish I could concentrate as hard on all the pitchers as I do on him."
The Giants chased Gooden (5-2) in the fifth, when he failed to retire a batter. In the first four innings, Gooden allowed nine hits and seven runs, six earned.
Gooden has failed to win in his last three starts, losing two of them. Since arriving in the major leagues, he has never gone four consecutive starts without a victory.
Gooden's first loss of the season came on May 11 against Cincinnati, when he allowed eight hits and three earned runs in five innings. Then he went eight innings without a decision against the Dodgers, allowing seven hits and three unearned runs in eight innings.
Thursday, the Giants' Mike Krukow pitched two-hit ball for eight innings and was supported by a 13-hit attack. He left the game after feeling a slight back strain, and Greg Minton set the Mets down in order in the ninth.
Krukow (6-3) and Minton combined to retire New York's last 26 batters. The Mets' runs came on a two-run homer by Keith Hernandez in the first inning.
About leaving in the fifth, Gooden said: "It felt strange leaving that early, and I was doing a lot of thinking about what I was doing wrong. I feel like I'm throwing the ball as well as last year, but everything's going wrong."
Atlanta 2, Chicago 0--Joe Johnson combined with Paul Assenmacher on a five-hit shutout at Atlanta as the Braves won their seventh straight game.
Johnson (6-3) didn't give way to Assenmacher until the ninth, when he walked two in a row. Assenmacher then threw a double-play ball to end the game and gain his fourth save.
Bob Horner provided Atlanta with its first run, getting an RBI double in the fourth, and Johnson provided an insurance run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly that scored Omar Moreno.
San Diego 6, Philadelphia 2--Tim Flannery, who had never faced Steve Carlton, hit a home run off Carlton in this game at San Diego as the Padres completed a three-game sweep of the Phillies.
Carlton (2-6) has not defeated the Padres since 1982. He gave up four runs on five hits over six innings. He also allowed homers to Kevin McReynolds and Steve Garvey.
Cincinnati 6, St. Louis 4--Rookie Tracy Jones hit a bases-loaded double to drive in three runs in a four-run seventh inning as the Reds won at St. Louis.
Jones finished the three-game series with 8 hits in 13 at-bats. But his big hit Thursday turned out to be a pain. He pulled a hamstring while running the bases.
Cincinnati trainer Larry Starr, after wrapping Jones' left leg in ice, said the extent of the injury would not be determined until today.
Mario Soto (3-6) pitched the first six innings for the Reds to snap a six-game losing streak. He got relief help from Ron Robinson and John Franco.
Houston 4, Pittsburgh 0--The Astros' Bob Knepper became the major leagues' first eight-game winner by shutting out the Pirates at Houston, but afterward he talked more about his hitting.
"I've been a notoriously slow starter with the bat," said Knepper, whose second hit in 31 at-bats drove in the Astros' second run. "I feel like I'm coming on pretty good."