A change of uniform didn't do much good for Steve Carlton, but the Giants still upped their lead in the West by rallying to beat the slumbering St. Louis Cardinals, 8-3, Sunday at San Francisco.
Carlton, released by the Philadelphia Phillies June 25 and picked up by the Giants last week, allowed eight hits and three runs before he was removed with one out in the fourth inning. The Cardinals have the poorest team batting average (.229) in the majors.
Behind Danny Cox (2-7), the Cardinals held a 3-2 lead going into the eighth. But the Giants, who stretched their lead in the West to 1 1/2 games, finally knocked out Cox, scoring six runs.
A pinch-hit single by Jeffrey Leonard drove home the go-ahead run with the bases loaded to trigger the eighth-inning outburst.
Candy Maldonado's pinch-hit single accounted for two Giant runs in the seventh.
The Cardinals, who have lost nine out of their last 10, dropped 23 games behind the Mets in the East.
A crowd of 40,473 at Candlestick Park, lured in part by Carlton's debut, increased the Giants' season attendance to 857,840, some 40,000 ahead of the entire total last season.
Carlton, who didn't get the decision, was in his 15th season with the Phillies before they gave him his release. A 22-year major league veteran, Carlton, 42, insists there is nothing wrong with his arm. But in his last four starts with the Phillies he gave up 27 hits, 22 runs and 15 walks, all within 14 innings.
Sunday, Carlton threw 77 pitches, 49 for strikes. He escaped in the first after Vince Coleman doubled to open the game, then stole his 55th base. Two-out singles by Tito Landrum and Mike Heath scored runs in the third and Carlton left after Coleman singled home a run with one out in the fourth.
"I thought he threw well," Manager Roger Craig said. "We clocked him at 88 or 89 m.p.h. and that's pretty good for a guy who hasn't pitched in two weeks. It'll take one, maybe two more starts before he's 100%."
Carlton, who broke his eight-year silence to the media Friday, said of his teammates: "They did a hell of a job. It was a good comeback." That's all. He then left through a back door.
Philadelphia 12, Cincinnati 5--In two previous games against Cincinnati pitching, the Phillies nearly went hitless, so maybe an explosion was due in Philadelphia.
Friday, Tom Browning held the Phillies without a hit for 7 innings and Saturday Chris Welsh did the same for 4 innings.
But Sunday, pinch-hitter Jeff Stone had a double and a home run as the Phillies tied a major league record with seven extra base hits in the third inning, wiping out a 4-1 deficit.
In that inning there were four doubles, a triple and two home runs. In 1948, the Phillies also had seven extra base hits in a game that, too, was against the Reds.
New York 5, Houston 3--When the season opened, left-hander Sid Fernandez was rated as the Mets' fourth-best starting pitcher, behind Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling and Bob Ojeda.
The first pitcher to win 11 games in the National League this season, however, is the former Dodger, Fernandez. Although a little wild, Fernandez held the Astros to six hits and one run in 6 innings to improve his record (11-2) and earned-run average (2.89).
Instead of praising Fernandez, though, Astros Manager Hal Lanier blamed his hitters.
"We stunk," he said. "When you leave six runners on base in the first three innings, you figure to lose. We had other chances but didn't get the hits. We also messed up on the bases again."
San Diego 2, Chicago 1--Rich Gossage may have lost a little off his fastball, but when he mixes it with his slider, he still is an outstanding reliever.
Gossage struck out the side in the ninth at San Diego to earn his 15th save. He also got the final out in the eighth to help Andy Hawkins (6-5) get the victory.