If there were scuff marks on the baseballs Friday night at Montreal, not many of them were put there by the Expos' bats.
Mike Scott, the 1986 Cy Young Award winner who has been checked frequently for making illegal markings on the baseballs, pitched a two-hitter to give the Houston Astros a 3-0 victory over the Expos.
Scott, who tries to ignore the allegations about doctoring the ball, struck out 12 and had a no-hitter until Casey Candaele tripled with two out in the sixth inning. It was the only threat and was extinguished when Mitch Webster grounded out.
Phil Garner hit his third home run of the season in the first inning off Neal Heaton (3-2), and that was all Scott (4-2) needed.
In his previous two starts, Scott's glove and the ball were checked several times. Although the right-hander, whose split-fingered fastball has been baffling hitters the last three years, said he wasn't bothered, he lost both of those games. Last Sunday at Atlanta, Scott struck out only 1 batter and gave up 4 runs.
"I made bad pitches, and they hit the ball real well in that game. It happens," Scott said. "As for them checking me, it's annoying, but they've been complaining ever since I went to the split-fingered (fastball)."
Scott also has a one-hitter this season, against the Dodgers April 15. He has 62 strikeouts in 58 innings and has walked only 13.
Maybe it was because the game wasn't on national television, but Scott wasn't checked once Friday night.
"I wasn't even thinking no-hitter," Scott said. "It was a one-run game at that point, and all you think of is getting them out."
Scott pitched a no-hitter last Sept. 25 to clinch the Western Division title for the Astros.
"To beat Scott," Expo Manager Bob Rodgers said, "you have to lay off those split-fingered fastballs. It's easier said than done. It was one of the best-pitched games against us this year."
Cincinnati 4, Philadelphia 3--Eric Davis has a strong chance to become the first National League hitter to win a Triple Crown in 50 years. If he could play against the Phillies a little more, he might b a cinch.
Davis hit a two-run double in a four-run third inning at Cincinnati to carry the Reds to another victory.
In four games against the Phillies, Davis is batting .588. He has 5 home runs and 13 runs batted in.
The fleet Cincinnati center fielder leads the league in hitting, home runs and RBIs. The last NL player to do that for a full season was Joe Medwick in 1937 for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Tom Browning (3-4) survived three home runs, two of them by Luis Aguayo. John Franco pitched the ninth, retiring all three batters for his sixth save. Franco has retired 31 of the last 32 batters he has faced.
The victory was Browning's first in more than two weeks, but with the Reds leading the West, Manager Pete Rose isn't worried.
"All pitchers go through slumps," he said. "It just takes a little longer for them to get out of it than it does a hitter, who goes out there everyday."
San Francisco 4, Pittsburgh 2--Jeffrey Leonard and Candy Maldonado hit consecutive home runs for the second game in a row at San Francisco to lead the Giants.
This time they did it against different pitchers in the fifth inning. Rob Wilfong walked before Leonard hit his homer off Brian Fisher (0-1). Bob Walk replaced Fisher, and Maldonado hit his seventh home run on Walk's first pitch.
Kelly Downs (3-1) gave up a two-run homer to Bobby Bonilla in the seventh to lose his shutout.
Atlanta 4, New York 3--Graig Nettles drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning at Atlanta as the Mets dropped to .500 at 13-13.
Ron Darling was working on a 3-2 lead in the seventh, but Ozzie Virgil opened the inning with his sixth home run to tie it.
In the 10th, Dale Murphy, who hit a home run earlier, walked with one out, stole second and advanced to third when catcher Gary Carter's throw sailed into center field. Nettles flied out to medium right field, and when Darryl Strawberry made a weak throw to the plate, Murphy scored easily.
Gene Garber (4-2) pitched a shutout inning to get the victory. Jesse Orosco was the loser.
Chicago 6, San Diego 3--Rick Sutcliffe, who was only 5-14 last season, became the first five-game winner in the National League in this game at San Diego.
Sutcliffe gave up 8 hits in 7 innings, and Lee Smith finished for his eighth save.
The Cubs, 10-3 on the road this season, had only five hits, but three of them came in a five-run fifth inning.
The Padres have lost four games in a row and have a 7-24 record. Storm Davis lost for the fifth time in six decisions, although he didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning.