The Houston Astros have had a tough week. They had lost seven in a row and were faced with the probability of losing Billy Hatcher, their best hitter, who was ejected from Tuesday night's game for using an illegal, corked bat .
But good things came out of Kevin Bass' bat Wednesday night at Houston. The switch-hitting right fielder had a perfect night (4 for 4), including home runs from both sides of the plate, as the Astros ended their losing streak with a 10-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
With the San Francisco Giants losing, the Astros moved within 4 1/2 games of the leaders in the National League West.
Bass' hitting made it easy for Mike Scott (14-10). Scott, last season's NL Cy Young Award winner, gave up nine hits but only one run in seven innings.
Bass hit his 14th home run, batting left-handed in the fourth, to give Houston a 3-1 lead. In the sixth, he hit a two-run home run while batting right-handed.
On Aug. 3 against the Giants, Bass became the 15th National League player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in a game. He is the only player in the league to do it twice in one season.
"I guess I just became the answer to a trivia question," said Bass, who scored four runs and drove in three. "I'm just glad to get us out of a tough situation. I just hope we've turned it around."
Hatcher went 2 for 5, including a two-run double in the sixth inning. His bat was not checked. A league ruling is ending.
Cincinnati 3, St. Louis 1--Manager Pete Rose was beginning to believe his Reds had finally turned it around. Bo Diaz hit a two-out, two-run home run in the eighth inning at St. Louis to give the Reds their second win in a row after losing 9 of 10.
Kal Daniels opened the game with a home run, the seventh time he has done it this season.
A single by Vince Coleman, his 93rd steal and a double by Ozzie Smith got the Cardinals even in the bottom of the first. But St. Louis had only two more hits the rest of the game.
"We have a chance," Rose said. "Our pitching's going to be all right."
Montreal 7, San Francisco 3--At San Francisco, Pascual Perez won his first game in more than two years, and Herm Winningham hit a three-run home run.
Perez gave up six hits and three runs in six innings. Tim Burke, who hasn't given up a run in 13 innings, pitched the last two innings for the Expos.
Candy Maldonado, after hitting a home run and a double to help the Giants take a 3-0 lead, singled in the ninth and had his bat confiscated by the umpires.
"There's no way there's anything wrong with the bat," Giant Manager Roger Craig said.
New York 4, San Diego 3--The Mets completed a sweep of the three-game series at San Diego and moved within 3 1/2 games of the Cardinals in the East.
The Mets, 5-1 on their final trip West, have three games with the Dodgers before returning home.
Howard Johnson and Keith Hernandez hit two-run home runs for the Mets, and Dwight Gooden, although he gave up 10 hits, went the distance and improved his record to 13-4.
The Mets were trailing, 3-2, when Gary Carter hit a one-out single in the seventh, and Johnson followed with his 34th home run. Johnson is one home run shy of Rip Collins' league record for home runs by a switch-hitter, set in 1934 with St. Louis.
Pittsburgh 2, Atlanta 0--Bob Walk turned in another fine effort as the Pirates completed an 8-1 home stand.
Walk (7-2) gave up just four hits in seven innings and did not walk a batter before having to leave because of a hamstring injury. Jim Gott gave up one hit in two innings for his sixth save.
Brave rookie Tom Glavine pitched well, too, but became the loser when Mike LaValliere hit a two-run double in the seventh.