New York Mets Manager Davey Johnson likes to rely on his instincts, and he had an idea Monday night that struggling relief pitcher Jesse Orosco could save the game.
"A lot of times, I'll go on hunches, and that was one of them. I had a really good feeling about him," Johnson said after Orosco allowed one hit in three innings and preserved the Mets' 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs at New York.
The Mets moved to within 1 1/2 games of first place in the National League East behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost to the Philadelphia Phillies.
"I left myself wide open for a lot of criticism by leaving him in there after he dusted off the left-handers," Johnson said. "You'd probably have a pretty good case (for taking Orosco out) after he faced the last left-hander."
Orosco, who has averaged 21 saves the past four seasons, got his first save in only three opportunities since July 4. He has 15 saves this year, but is 3-8 with a 4.63 earned-run average and has gotten few chances in the stretch.
"I don't know my role out there," Orosco said. "But I haven't had any problems with myself.
"I've had some good ones and some bad ones. I was surprised he left me in."
Orosco struck out three as the Mets beat Chicago for only the second time in the last seven games. Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez each drove in two runs.
Rick Aguilera (9-2) pitched six innings for his sixth straight victory, five of them since being activated from the disabled list Aug. 24.
The Cubs scored all of their runs on homers. Andre Dawson hit a three-run shot, his 44th, and Leon Durham followed with his 27th for a 4-1 lead in the third inning. Jody Davis hit his 19th homer in the sixth, pulling Chicago within 6-5.
Chicago has 193 homers this season, the most in the league since the Atlanta Braves hit 206 in 1973. The Cubs also set a team record with 85 road home runs.
San Francisco 4, San Diego 3--Jose Uribe lined a one-out home run in the bottom of the ninth as the Giants edged the Padres at San Francisco.
Uribe broke a 3-3 tie with the homer to right field on a 1-and-1 pitch from Lance McCullers (7-8). It was Uribe's fourth homer of the season.
Reliever Craig Lefferts (4-5) got the win. The former San Diego pitcher worked two perfect innings.
Tony Gwynn led off the game with a single, stole second and third, and scored on John Kruk's single off Giants starter Mike Krukow. The Giants went ahead in the bottom of the first on Eddie Milner's third homer and Candy Maldonado's RBI single.
Philadelphia 3, St. Louis 2--Mike Schmidt singled in the winning run over a drawn-in outfield with the bases loaded and one out in the 11th inning at Philadelphia.
Juan Samuel, who had tied the game with a two-run double with two out in the ninth, drew a one-out walk off Ken Dayley. After Samuel stole second, his third stolen base of the game, Von Hayes and pinch-hitter Greg Jelks also walked, loading the bases.
The Cardinals pulled their infield and outfield in, and Schmidt hit a 1-and-2 pitch to deep center.
Jeff Calhoun (2-1), who pitched two scoreless innings, was the winner as the Phillies ended a five-game losing streak.
Phillie starter Shane Rawley (17-8) failed for the third time to become the National League's first 18 game-winner.
Atlanta 3, Cincinnati 2--Albert Hall's run-scoring double with one out in the seventh inning broke a 1-1 tie as the Braves edged the Reds at Atlanta.
It was the third loss in a row for the Reds, who fell seven games behind first place San Francisco in the NL West.
Ken Griffey opened the seventh with a pinch-hit double off Guy Hoffman (9-10) and took third on Dion James' sacrifice. Hall doubled to center to score Griffey, then stole third and scored on Dale Murphy's sacrifice fly, an insurance run the Braves needed in the ninth.
Tom Glavine (2-3) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out four in seven innings for the victory. Jim Acker pitched the final inning for his 11th save despite giving up an RBI grounder to Kal Daniels in the ninth.
Montreal 6, Pittsburgh 4--Hubie Brooks lined a two-run double in the 14th inning at Pittsburgh as the Expos ended the Pirates' seven-game winning streak.
Mike Fitzgerald started the 14th with a single off Bret Gideon (1-5). After Fitzgerald was sacrificed to second, Tim Raines was walked intentionally.
One out later, Brooks lined a double into the gap in left-center to give the Expos their 12th win in 13 extra-inning games and move third-place Montreal to within two games of first-place St. Louis in the National League East.
Andy McGaffigan (5-2) was the winner, and Jeff Parrett pitched the 14th for his fifth save.
Tim Wallach led off the 13th inning with his 23rd homer, but Bobby Bonilla tied it 4-4 in the bottom of the 13th with his 15th homer, a one-out shot off McGaffigan.
Raines hit his 17th homer to tie the score 3-3 in the top of the seventh.