Keith Hernandez, the steadying influence of the New York Mets, had three more hits Tuesday night to reach the 2,000 plateau and lead the team to a 12-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs and keep the pressure on in the East.
With the St. Louis Cardinals winning at Philadelphia, the Mets remained 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the NL East, as they head for a showdown with the third-place Montreal Expos.
The Mets hoped to catch the Cardinals in the recently concluded eight-game home stand, but if they are to repeat as champions, they will have to win on the road. The Mets have 18 games remaining, 13 on the road.
Hernandez injured his ankle rounding third in the eighth but is expected to play tonight at Montreal. He figured in five-run rallies in the sixth and eighth innings. On the hit that gave him 2,000, Hernandez beat out a roller to short.
"I knew it wouldn't be a line drive," Hernandez said. "My 1,000th was a broken-bat blooper."
Hernandez, in his 14th season in the majors, came to the Mets from the Cardinals in June, 1983. He has been a key figure in their success in recent years.
There was more good news on a night when the Mets picked up veteran left-hander John Candelaria from the Angels. Sid Fernandez, bothered by a tender elbow for more than a month, gave up just two hits and a run in five innings to improve his record to 11-8.
St. Louis 4, Philadelphia 3--Mike Schmidt's home run in the fourth inning at Philadelphia gave him 30 for the 13th time in his illustrious career. It also gave the Phillies their third run, but the Cardinal bullpen shut them out the rest of the way.
Vince Coleman's run-scoring double capped a four-run second inning rally that enabled the Cardinals to stay 1 1/2 in front and stretch their lead over third-place Montreal to three games.
But Bob Forsch had to leave in the second inning with a groin injury after Von Hayes hit a two-run home run. Schmidt's homer was the only run in 7 innings off Cardinal relievers.
San Francisco 13, San Diego 3--Chili Davis hit a pair of two-run homers and set an NL record as the Padre beat the Giants at San Francisco.
Davis played all three outfield positions and was 4 for 4 with 4 RBIs and 4 runs scored. He hit his 19th and 20th homers.
Davis hit his first homer batting right-handed in the fourth and the second batting left-handed in the third. He set a league record by hitting homers from both sides of the plate for the third time in his career. Mickey Mantle holds the American League record with 10.
The Giants, 26-11 since Aug. 6, had 4 homers and 17 hits in winning their fourth straight.
The Padres' Benito Santiago doubled to increase his hitting streak to 19 games, equaling the league's longest this year.
Cincinnati 21, Atlanta 6--It didn't quite compare with Toronto's home run barrage Monday night, but the Reds, led by Dave Parker, turned on the power at Atlanta.
The Reds hammered seven home runs, two of them by Parker, who drove in a career-high 8 runs and went 5 for 5. Rookie catcher Terry McGriff hit a grand slam in the eight-run fourth, shortly after Parker hit a three-run double.
Monday night, the Blue Jays had 10 home runs, Baltimore 1. Tuesday night, Toronto and Atlanta combined for nine home runs. The two for Atlanta were hit by Dale Murphy, who now has 40.
There were 33 hits in the game, 21 by the Reds, who hammered an old patsy, David Palmer (8-3). Palmer is 1-8 lifetime against the Reds. He gave up seven hits and five runs in three innings.
In addition to the home runs, there were six doubles and two triples.
"I've driven in six about three times," Parker said, "but eight is definitely the highlight of my career. I was blessed tonight. It's about time for us to have some fun. Maybe it will start a streak."
Pittsburgh 5, Montreal 1--This is the week the Pirates hope to make life miserable for the contenders in the East.
After losing a 14-inning marathon Monday night at Pittsburgh, the Pirates, behind the pitching of Mike Bielecki, dealt a blow to Montreal's pennant hopes.
Bielecki (2-2) had a perfect game until one out in the seventh inning and settled for a three-hitter. He didn't walk a batter and struck out six.
It was the Pirates' eighth win in the last nine games.
With Jose Lind on first and John Cangelosi on third in the fourth inning, Montreal's Neal Heaton (12-8) made a pickoff throw to first. Cangelosi broke for home and slid in safely for his 21st steal.