Mike Schmidt broke out of a slump, hit two home runs and led the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-2 victory over the Reds at Cincinnati Saturday, ending the Phillies' losing streak at four games.
Schmidt hit a two-run home run in the first inning and a solo shot in the sixth off one of the better pitchers in the National League, Bill Gullickson. The first blow ended an 0-for-13 slump and also started Kevin Gross (1-4) on his way to a complete-game victory.
"That sure beats losing and going 0 for 4," said Schmidt, who has 505 career home runs, including 10 so far this season. "That's been happening a lot lately. This is the way the game's supposed to be won--score four or five runs, and the starter does the job.
"I made up my mind I would get the tension out of my swing. My goal was a nice, easy swing. I knew the best way out of it was to relax, swing easy, swing smooth. It's often easier to say than to do."
Schmidt has four homers in five games against the Reds. His 29 career home runs are the most by a visiting player at Riverfront Stadium.
"I think whoever was on the mound, I would have gotten a couple of knocks off of," Schmidt said. "I didn't hit that first one very well. It barely cleared the fence. When it went out, I was the happiest guy on earth, with the way we've been going."
The loss knocked the Reds out of first place in the West, but Manager Pete Rose wasn't complaining.
"You can't complain because Schmidt hits two home runs," Rose said. "He's hit more than 500. They get a well-pitched game and one of the best players ever to play hits two home runs and knocks in three runs. That's the way you have to look at this game."
Gross, his spring training shortened by a herniated disk, gave up eight hits, including a double by Eric Davis and a single by Bo Diaz that cost him his shutout in the sixth. He also gave up Paul O'Neill's first major league home run with two out in the ninth.
"It was a long, ugly, spring training," Gross said. "When I made it here, I just wanted to do my best."
Buddy Bell had a pair of singles for the Reds to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, longest current string in the majors.
San Francisco 9, Pittsburgh 4--If he is dreaming, utility infielder Chris Speier would just as soon not wake up.
The 36-year-old infielder hit his second grand slam in five days, at San Francisco, to bring the Giants from behind and send them into first place in the West.
Until Tuesday, when Speier hit a grand slam in St. Louis, he had gone 15 years since the only previous slam of his career.
Speier started in 1971 as the Giants' shortstop and stayed with the team until 1977. Since then, he has played with five other teams. He signed as a free agent with the Giants last December.
He no longer can do the job full time at short. But with Chris Brown and Rob Thompson hurt, he can fill in at third or second. With his power display, it matters little that he will soon be 37.
Atlee Hammaker held the Pirates to 2 hits in 5 innings of relief to gain the victory for the Giants.
Atlanta 5, New York 4--Weekends may be fun for some people, but for the Mets they are terrible.
In running their Saturday-Sunday record this season to 0-9 in this game at Atlanta, the Mets also lost pitcher Bob Ojeda for an indefinite time.
The left-hander, who was a key player in the club's drive to the World Series championship last season, lasted just one inning, giving up a run and two hits before his tender elbow forced him to retire. The Mets don't know when he will be ready to pitch again.
The loss to David Palmer (2-4) dropped the Mets to 13-14. Palmer took a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning, but it took the Braves' entire bullpen to pull it out.
Dale Murphy hit a home run for the second game in a row and drove in two runs to spark the Braves.
Montreal 3, Houston 1--Reid Nichols hit a three-run home run in the second inning at Montreal to give young Bob Sebra (2-4) the support he needed.
Sebra held the Astros to 4 hits in 7 innings and struck out 9. Tim Burke pitched two scoreless innings for his second save.
Chicago 5, San Diego 2--Leon Durham hit two home runs, and Andre Dawson hit a two-run homer at San Diego as the Cubs took ovr first place in the National League East and improved their road record to 11-3.
The road start is the best in the club's history. In 1946, the Cubs opened 10-4 away from home.
Dawson had gone 3 for 35 in his career against the Padres' Eric Show when he came up in the sixth inning with Jerry Mumphrey on second base. Dawson proceeded to hit his 10th home run to give the Cubs the lead for good, 3-2.
Durham's first homer, in the fourth, was the first hit off Show.