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National League Roundup : Reds Soar; Has Rose Retired?

September 03, 1986|DAN HAFNER

It would appear that without making a big thing of it Manager Pete Rose has retired player Pete Rose.

As the Cincinnati Reds make a spirited bid to overtake the Houston Astros in the National League West, they are doing it with Rose on the bench.

It has been more than two weeks since Rose has even pinch-hit, and it was Aug. 16 when he last appeared in the lineup.

At 45, the all-time hit leader is having a poor season. When he took himself out of the action, Rose was batting only .219.

One of the reasons Rose put himself on the bench was to give Nick Esasky, who had played third base and outfield, a good shot at first base. Esasky has done well enough to keep both Rose and Tony Perez on the bench.

Esasky hit a two-run home run Tuesday night at Cincinnati to trigger a six-run fifth inning that enabled Bill Gullickson, baseball's hottest pitcher, to breeze to a 9-1 victory.

Gullickson, who had a no-hitter until U.L. Washington beat out an infield roller with one out in the sixth, has won six in a row to improve his record to 13-8. In his last nine starts, covering 74 innings, he has yielded only seven runs and 55 hits.

He is a major reason why the Reds trail the Houston Astros by just 6 1/2 games. Esasky is another big reason.

Since he became a regular on Aug. 19, the Reds are 11-3. He has contributed four home runs and 16 runs batted in while batting .329.

Shortly before benching himself, Rose had his one hot spell of the year. He had a 5-for-5 game Aug. 11, then three days later was 3 for 4. He then went hitless nine times in a row and no longer even appears in a pinch.

Fans and the media had hinted earlier in the season, when the Reds were playing poorly, that maybe Rose would be better off managing and not playing. He hasn't answered his critics, but it could be significant that he isn't contributing to the pennant drive.

The Reds and Astros play each other five more times.

San Francisco 4, New York 3--Although Dwight Gooden is not having an outstanding season, most pitchers don't enjoy facing him. Mike Krukow is an exception. He doesn't care who the opposing pitcher is, he just enjoys facing the Mets.

In this game at New York, Krukow (14-8) beat the team with the best record in the majors for the fifth time in a row. Lifetime, the veteran left-hander is 17-6 against the Mets.

Krukow pitched a strong seven innings, giving up two runs and just five hits. Scott Garrelts came in to quell an uprising in the eighth and earned his seventh save.

Gooden (13-5) struck out 10 and gave up just six hits in seven innings. But one of the hits was a three-run home run by Bob Brenly in the fifth.

San Diego 6, Philadelphia 2--Terry Kennedy and Kevin McReynolds hit two-run home runs at Philadelphia as the Padres ended the Phillies' six-game winning streak.

Dave LaPoint went seven innings to pick up his first win for the Padres.

Atlanta 4, St. Louis 2--Dale Murphy hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning at Atlanta to beat John Tudor (13-7). It was the 26th home run for Murphy, who is having an off season.

Andy Van Slyke hit his ninth home run for the Cardinals, only the team's second in the last 18 games.

Houston 4, Chicago 4--For the fourth time this season, the absence of lights at Wrigley Field caused the suspension of a game.

Darkness halted play after 14 innings, and the game will be completed before today's scheduled contest. Jody Davis hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to get the Cubs even, 4-4.

Glenn Davis rejoined the Astros and hit his 27th home run.

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