Kevin Mitchell says he has figured out how to beat the Cincinnati Reds.
Mitchell hit a two-run home run Saturday, his 24th homer of the season, to lead the San Francisco Giants to an 8-1 victory over the Reds in San Francisco.
Mitchell learned his lesson Friday night, when the Reds scored three times in the ninth inning to beat the Giants, 5-4.
"The Reds keep coming at you, so you can't go into the ninth inning with only a one-run lead against them," said Mitchell, who leads the major leagues in home runs and runs batted in (with 65).
"You have to jump on them because they won't die."
The victory gave the Giants a one-game lead over Houston in the NL West.
Mitchell's homer off Danny Jackson (5-9) built a 5-1 lead in the third inning for rookie left-hander Dennis Cook (1-0). Cook walked three, two in the first inning, and struck out four in his second complete game in six starts.
Cook yielded a leadoff homer to Paul O'Neill in the second inning, then blanked the Reds the rest of the way on a six-hitter. He also had a run-scoring triple in the eighth for his first major league hit.
The Reds may have lost more than a game. Shortstop Barry Larkin, the National League's batting leader at .361, suffered a hyperextended left knee on a fielding play at second base in the second inning and left the game in the sixth. Larkin was injured when Greg Litton slid hard into second on a force play.
Larkin's injury is regarded as mild, but there is greater concern about Jackson's shoulder. The pitcher said he had pain during the first four innings and will return to Cincinnati today for an examination.
The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Robby Thompson's triple and Will Clark's sacrifice fly. O'Neill's 11th home run tied it, but the Giants went ahead with two runs in the bottom of the second.
Candy Maldonado led off the second with a double and scored on Litton's single. Brett Butler's two-out single made it 3-1.
Butler hit his second homer in the sixth, and a balk by Tim Birtsas gave the Giants a run in the eighth.
Chicago 3, Montreal 2--Rick Sutcliffe gave up six hits in 7 1/3 innings as the Cubs regained first place by a half-game in the NL East with a victory over the Expos at Montreal.
With the score tied, 2-2, Domingo Ramos opened the Chicago seventh with an infield hit off Pascual Perez (3-8), and Sutcliffe (8-4) sacrificed him to second base. Jerome Walton's single scored Ramos.
The Cubs, who yielded first place to Montreal Friday night when they dropped their third straight, are one game in front of the New York Mets, and the St. Louis Cardinals are two games out.
The Expos took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Dave Martinez walked, was doubled to third by Andres Galarraga and scored on Sutcliffe's wild pitch. Tim Raines singled home Galarraga to make it 2-0.
The Cubs tied it in the fourth on doubles by Andre Dawson, Damon Berryhill and Vance Law.
New York 1, Philadelphia 0--Bob Ojeda pitched a three-hitter, and Kevin McReynolds doubled home the game's only run with two out in the first inning as the Mets beat the Phillies before 46,570 fans at Philadelphia for their fourth straight victory.
Ojeda (4-6) walked one and struck out six in pitching his second straight complete game and third of the season. He gave up a one-out double to Tommy Herr in the first inning and a leadoff single to John Kruk in the second.
Juan Samuel walked with two out in the fourth, but Ojeda got the next 14 batters, until Steve Jeltz singled with one out in the ninth.
With two out in the first, Howard Johnson singled off Larry McWilliams (2-7) and scored when McReynolds doubled high off the wall in left-center.
Pittsburgh 7, St. Louis 2--Jeff Robinson, making his first start in nearly three years, held the Cardinals to one run in five innings as the Pirates won at St. Louis.
Robinson (3-6) allowed four hits, walked one and struck out four in his first start since Aug. 21, 1986. He had made 194 consecutive relief appearances since that start. Bob Kipper held the Cardinals to one run in the last four innings to earn his second save.
Vince Coleman and Manager Whitey Herzog of the Cardinals were ejected in the first inning by umpire Greg Bonin. Coleman was chased for arguing a called third strike, and Herzog followed when he joined the argument.
San Diego 2, Houston 1--Jack Clark hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift the Padres past the Astros at San Diego.
Tony Gwynn led off the eighth with his fourth hit, a single, to chase starter Jim Deshaies. Clark connected off Danny Darwin (5-2).
Billy Hatcher got the Astros' run in the fifth with his second homer.
Gene Harris (3-2) earned the victory in relief of Walt Terrell.