Atlee Hammaker is developing into one of the top stories in major league baseball this season.
The fact that the San Francisco Giant left-hander can throw a baseball is one thing. But to be able to pitch, and pitch well, is remarkable.
Hammaker, who was out all of last season because of rotator cuff surgery, pitched the Giants to a 9-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies Monday night at San Francisco.
Hammaker pitched seven innings, gave up two hits and was supported by five home runs, including two by their new power hitter, Chris Speier.
It was the fourth start for the 29-year-old Hammaker (3-1), who, in his last three starts, has pitched 21 innings, given up just 12 hits and 4 earned runs.
Rotator cuff injuries have ended the careers of many pitchers, including 20-game winners Steve Busby and Wayne Garland.
"It just feels great," Hammaker said. "Just knowing that I can take my regular turn is a wonderful feeling."
Houston 6, Chicago 5--Jose Cruz hit a home run in the 10th inning at Chicago to enable the Astros to overcome another solid performance by Andre Dawson.
Dawson drove in all five Chicago runs with a pair of home runs. The Astros were breezing, 5-1, until Dawson hit a grand slam in the eighth to send it into extra innings.
Dawson, in his first season with the Cubs, has 16 home runs and 46 runs batted in.
St. Louis 8, Cincinnati 6--In the battle of division leaders, Tommy Herr doubled in two runs in the top of the 10th at Cincinnati to give the Cardinals the victory.
Herr hit the first pitch from reliever John Franco down the third-base line to drive in Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark.
Herr singled to open the ninth and wound up scoring the tying run when shortstop Barry Larkin booted a grounder by Curt Ford that would have been the final out of the game.
Jerry Reuss gave up a three-run home run to Tony Pena in the second, then settled down to pitch seven strong innings.
Todd Worrell, back in top form, pitched two scoreless innings to gain the victory.