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National League Roundup : Bumbling Mets Manage to Give Braves a Sweep, 8-7

May 11, 1987|DAN HAFNER

Last season, when the New York Mets were on their way to winning the World Series, they were together. They had the feeling it was them against the world.

In the midst of their worst slump in three seasons, is the situation developing into one in which it's the Mets against themselves?

There have been numerous incidents recently in which players have been bickering with each other and with Manager Davey Johnson.

The slump continued Sunday at Atlanta when the Mets were beaten, 8-7, on two runs the Braves scored in the eighth inning as a result of poor communication on a fly ball.

A six-run rally in the top of the eighth gave the Mets, who were swept in the three-game series, a 7-6 lead.

With two out and a runner on second, Albert Hall hit a pop fly to short right. Second baseman Tim Teufel appeared to be under it, but was called off by right fielder Darryl Strawberry.

The ball dropped untouched, the tying run scored and Hall had a double. He scored the winning run on a single by Rafael Ramirez.

"There was no communication," Strawberry told the Associated Press. "I should have called for the ball earlier, but I called too late."

Johnson declined to talk about any specific play, but he unloaded on his world champions, who are 13-15.

"We made more mental errors in that ballgame than I even care to go into," the angry Johnson said. "As far as what the problems are, I have no idea.

"I don't know if it's everybody got big raises or whether it's basking in the glory. It's not important. Whatever it is, we're not playing baseball.

"As far as I'm concerned, we let a mediocre ballclub sweep us. They didn't beat us. We beat ourselves."

It was the first time the Braves swept a three-game series from the Mets since April, 1983.

After Friday's loss, some of his teammates blamed catcher Gary Carter for a bad throw that put the winning run in scoring position in the 10th, while Carter blamed shortstop Howard Johnson for not covering second on the steal.

"This is what they call a team slump, I guess," Mets' center fielder Mookie Wilson said.

The Mets have lost 6 of 7 games. They are only three games out of first place, mainly because no team appears to be good enough to pull away from the pack in the National League East.

"The Mets are a tough club," the Braves' Dale Murphy said. "Any time you sweep them, it really helps you mentally."

Philadelphia 4, Cincinnati 3--Following a 17-minute "bee delay" at Cincinnati, Juan Samuel and Lance Parrish stung the Reds with home runs.

Shane Rawley stopped most of the Reds except the unstoppable Eric Davis to get his second victory. Davis hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning to ruin the shutout.

Although he was stung by a bee on his pitching hand and lost his first game, Ted Power struck out a career-high 11 batters. Power had won nine in a row, three of them this season.

"I got stung on my right index finger," Power said, "but it didn't affect my pitching. During the delay, they put bee sting medicine on it and iced it.

"The bees kept flying around during the rest of the game, but I tried to keep my head down. It seemed like they were going for the head."

Samuel's homer was a two-run shot in the sixth and Parrish's bases-empty homer made it 4-0 in the seventh.

Montreal 6, Houston 2--Tim Raines continued his hot hitting at Montreal, and the Expos continued to take advantage of it.

Raines drove in two runs and scored two others to back the sharp pitching of Jay Tibbs (3-4) and reliever Randy St. Claire. St. Claire pitched 3 scoreless innings for his fourth save.

Raines is batting .387 (12 for 31) and has four game-winning hits in the eight he has played. After missing all of spring training and the first month of the season, the fleet outfielder is making up for lost time.

Pittsburgh 4, San Francisco 1--Johnny Ray singled home the tiebreaking run in the 11th inning at San Francisco, and Jim Morrison followed with a two-run home run to end the Giants' three-game winning streak.

Don Robinson (3-1) shut out the Giants over the last four innings on two hits and struck out six.

Barry Bonds tripled to open the 11th, and, one out later, Ray looped a single to left for the game-winner.

San Diego 14, Chicago 2--Tony Gwynn drove in two runs with a homer and a single at San Diego, and the Padres were helped out of their latest skid by pitcher Jay Baller. The Cub reliever committed back-to-back, run-scoring balks in the fifth inning to highlight a five-run inning.

It was only the eighth win in 33 games for the Padres, who had lost five in a row. It was only the fourth loss in 15 road games for the Cubs.

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