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National League Roundup : Astros Turn the Tables on Expos

July 22, 1987

One of the intriguing facets of baseball is its unpredictability. The unexpected happens often.

Take Tuesday night's game at Montreal. The sizzling Expos were sending the league's hottest pitcher, Floyd Youmans, against the Houston Astros, a team in the throes of a terrible hitting slump. The Expos were seeking their ninth victory in a row.

The unexpected happened. The Astros, who had not scored more than two runs in a game since before the All-Star break, jumped on Youmans for three runs in the third inning and went on to beat the Expos, 4-2, ending their eight-game winning streak.

It also ended the Astros' four-game losing streak and stopped Youmans' six-game winning streak, which included shutouts in his two previous starts.

Danny Darwin took a four-hit shutout into the ninth but, after Tim Raines hit a lead-off home run, he was replaced by Dave Smith. Smith gave up two hits and another run before getting his 16th save.

Youmans extended his scoreless string to 20 innings before Gerald Young opened the third with a single. A steal, error and infield out accounted for one run. Back-to-back doubles by Denny Walling and Alan Ashby, and Jose Cruz's single gave Darwin all the runs he needed.

In the previous six games, the Astros had scored only nine runs and had not reached double figures in hits in any of them. The only game they won during the stretch was a 2-1 win by Darwin in his previous outing.

"It is rather surprising that, after making some mediocre pitchers look like Hall of Famers, we would beat the hottest pitcher in the league," Manager Hal Lanier said.

"The only guys we had hitting during the slump were the kids, Ken Caminiti and Gerald Young. And, tonight, it was Young who started the rally. I couldn't believe it when I saw the three on the board."

Montreal Manager Bob Rodgers said he wasn't expecting his club to win every game the second half of the season.

"I didn't expect to win 40 or 50 in a row," he said.

Atlanta 8, New York 3--It also is unexpected when Doyle Alexander outpitches Dwight Gooden at New York.

While Alexander (5-6) pitched a four-hitter, including a two-run home run by the Mets' new cleanup hitter, Darryl Strawberry, the Braves jumped on Gooden (7-3) for five runs and six hits in seven innings.

Dale Murphy hit his 26th home run in the eighth to account for the last two Atlanta runs, but it was Andres Thomas who came up with the key hit.

With the score tied, 3-3, Thomas ripped a two-run double, and Alexander went on to end a four-game losing streak.

"Alexander hasn't pitched a bad game all year," Manager Chuck Tanner of the Braves said. "Every game has been a quality start. This is the first time we got him some runs. We got him six runs in his last five starts."

Cincinnati 4, Philadelphia 3--With all their injuries and pitching problems, the Reds show no signs of willingly giving up their lead in the West.

In this game at Philadelphia, Paul O'Neill hit a home run to cap a three-run fourth-inning rally that enabled the Reds to win for the fourth time in the last five games.

Bill Gullickson (10-6) was the winner, and Rob Murphy pitched two shutout innings to earn his second save.

O'Neill's third home run came shortly after a balk called on Kevin Gross enabled the Reds to score the tying run.

San Diego 4, Chicago 3--For the most part, it wasn't a good night for the home team in the National League.

When Jody Davis hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead, it appeared the visitors might win at San Diego, too.

But Tim Flannery doubled home Garry Templeton to cap a two-run bottom of the seventh that gave the Padres the lead for good.

San Francisco 7, Pittsburgh 0--Dave Dravecky pitched a six-hitter at San Francisco for his first complete game since joining the Giants and his first shutout since April 8, 1986.

Chili Davis and Bob Brenly each drove in two runs as the Giants made it easy for Dravecky (5-8).

Brenly hit his 11th home run in the seventh, and Mike Aldrete slammed his fourth in the eighth.

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