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National League Roundup : Reds' Davis Finds a Bat That Hits

May 02, 1987|DAN HAFNER

Eric Davis is only 24 and is in his second full season with the Cincinnati Reds, but he is becoming one of the most exciting players in baseball.

He doesn't do things halfway. Last week, the Reds' center fielder set a major league record by striking out nine consecutive times.

This week is a time for hitting home runs.

Davis hit two Friday night at Philadelphia, including a grand slam in the third inning, to propel the Reds to an 8-5 victory over the Phillies.

There were seven homers in the game, including the 502nd for the Phillies' Mike Schmidt.

Davis, who hit a three-run home run Thursday in the ninth inning also hit a home run Tuesday night.

Despite all those strikeouts, Davis is leading the league in home runs with 9, has driven in 21 runs and raised his average to .383, second highest in the league.

Even Manager Pete Rose has trouble holding back his enthusiasm.

"Eric can be as good as he wants to be," Rose said, "and after watching him this spring, I'm convinced he wants to be the best.

"He knows baseball. He knows when to run, when not to run and when to hit the ball to the opposite field. On top of that, he's blessed with great power. He has natural instincts for the game and makes it that much more fun to watch him."

Davis started to hit home runs after switching to teammate Dave Parker's bat.

"Mine didn't seem to have any hits in it," he said. "But now, using Dave's bat, I've started to swing the bat again."

Houston 12, Atlanta 3--It was a rainy night in Georgia and Nolan Ryan, for one, enjoyed it immensely.

Ryan, in a game delayed twice by rain, hit the second home run of his illustrious career and won his 255th game.

As often happens, Ryan flirted with a no-hitter. With one out in the sixth, Ken Oberkfell singled off Ryan, who has a record five no-hitters.

Ryan gave up only three hits and a run in 6 innings, but it was his three-run home run in the seventh inning that gave him a 10-0 cushion that he was excited about.

This is the 20th season for the durable right-hander and his only previous home run was against Don Sutton, then of the Dodgers, on April 12, 1980.

There are no signs that Ryan, 40, is close to the end of his career. In his last three starts, he has pitched 19 innings, given up only 8 hits and two runs and struck out 21.

New York 7, Montreal 6--Pinch-hitter Tim Teufel hit a home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth at New York to give the Mets their third victory in a row.

The Mets' pitching is still shaky, but they are scoring runs. They scored six times and chased Bryn Smith before he could escape in the third inning.

But Ron Darling couldn't stop the Expo hitters, either. He was knocked out in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Wallace Johnson hit a home run with one out, and the Expos tied the score on a run-scoring double by Tim Wallach.

Jesse Orosco, who gave up two hits and a walk in the top of the ninth but also struck out the side, was the winner.

Pittsburgh 4, San Francisco 2--Former Dodger Sid Bream hit a two-run home run and Rick Reuschel pitched a four-hitter at Pittsburgh as the Pirates knocked the Giants out of first place in the West.

Mike Diaz led off the fifth with his fifth home run to put the Pirates in front, 2-1. Diaz, who platoons in left field, has hit a home run every nine at-bats.

It was only the Giants' fifth loss in 15 road games this season.

Chicago 7, San Diego 5--Hot-hitting Andre Dawson homered in the eighth inning at Chicago to trigger a three-run inning in which Shawon Dunston drove in his first run of the season.

Dawson's home run tied the game, and Dunston singled home the game-winner after a single by Jody Davis and a walk to Jerry Mumphrey.

Frank DiPino pitched a scoreless inning to get the win, and Lee Smith pitched the scoreless ninth for his fifth save.

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