You know you are in trouble when the opposing team's leadoff man hits a three-run home run in the first inning.
It happened to Shane Rawley-- once the top candidate for the Cy Young Award in the National League--Saturday night at Montreal.
The Phillie left-hander hit Tim Raines, the first batter he faced in the game. Before he could retire the Expos in the inning, Rawley faced Raines again, and the Expo star hit his 18th home run. It gave the Expos an eight-run inning, and they breezed to a 12-4 victory.
The first-inning uprising enabled Dennis Martinez to improve his record to 10-3 and enabled the Expos to keep pace with the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets in the East race. The Expos trail the Cardinals by two games and the Mets by a half- game.
When Rawley beat the Dodgers Aug. 31, it gave him 9 victories in his last 10 decisions and a 17-6 record. He was pitching better than anyone in the league.
But September has been another story. This was his fourth start in the month and he is 0-3. He has pitched 16 innings, given up 24 hits and 19 runs, all earned.
St. Louis 5, Chicago 3--The Cardinals, without Jack Clark in their lineup, don't hit many home runs. When they hit two in a game, they usually win.
Willie McGee hit a 410-foot blast with a man on to climax a four-run third-inning rally at St. Louis, and winning pitcher Joe Magrane (8-7) hit the first of his career in the fourth.
Magrane had a one-hitter until the sixth, but three hits, two of them bloopers, and an error by third baseman Terry Pendleton gave the Cubs their three runs.
With one out in the seventh, the Cubs loaded the bases. Bullpen ace Todd Worrell came on, struck out Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson and went on to pick up his 30th save.
McGee's home run was the 11th, a career high.
New York 5, Pittsburgh 4--Just as the Expos and Cardinals did earlier in the week, the Mets are finding the Pirates a tough team to beat.
Keith Hernandez hit the sixth grand slam of his career to climax a five-run rally in the fifth inning at Pittsburgh to give the Mets a 5-2 lead.
Rick Aguilera (10-2) won his sixth in a row since returning from the disabled list, but he lasted only 5 innings. The Pirates, helped by two errors, pulled to within a run in the sixth.
They loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but Randy Myers put out the fire. Andy Van Slyke opened the ninth with a single and Bobby Bonilla walked But Roger McDowell struck out Darnell Coles, and R. J. Reynolds hit into a double play to end the game.
San Francisco 5, Cincinnati 1--Jose Uribe and Will Clark hit home runs at San Francisco as the Giants increased their winning streak to seven games and virtually assured themselves the title in the West.
Mike LaCoss, although he needed help in the sixth inning, improved his record to 13-10 as the Giants pulled nine games in front of the Reds with only 14 games remaining. The magic number is six.
The Giants are in a position where they could lose all their remaining games and still win the division. The Reds and third-place Houston are both below .500. In addition, they play each other six more times. A split would not be too surprising.
Manager Pete Rose of the Reds says it's all over.
"They're having fun because they all believe they're going to the playoffs," he said. "I'm not having fun because I believe they are, too."
However, the Giants lost outfielder Joel Youngblood for the playoffs when he fell trying to catch a foul line drive and broke his right wrist.
San Diego 2, Houston 1--In early June, the Padres were 14 games out of fifth place in the West. But, when Garry Templeton hit a home run in the 14th inning at Houston, the Padres climbed out of the cellar.
It was another strong no-decision performance for Houston's Nolan Ryan. Ryan gave up 5 hits and struck out 11 in 9 innings. With 246 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.63, the 40-year-old right-hander leads the majors in both departments.