Some major league clubs are looking forward to the All-Star break--but not Cincinnati.
The Reds are seemingly charging to the title in the National League West and are not interested in taking any time off. Everything is going so well that even their pitcher with the worst record threw a shutout Saturday night.
Rick Mahler, 36, who is being used as a fill-in starter, held the Phillies to six hits and drove in a run at Philadelphia during a 5-0 victory that kept the Reds' lead at 9 1/2 games.
The right-hander went into the game with a 4.58 earned-run average but came out of it with his third victory in six decisions and his first shutout in more than a year.
Left fielder Billy Hatcher saved the shutout in the sixth inning when he made a perfect throw to the plate to nail Lenny Dykstra trying to score from third base on a fly ball.
Mariano Duncan singled home two runs in the second, and Mahler beat out a potential double play ground ball to drive in a run in the third as the Reds made it 4-0.
"My problem has been lack of consistency," said Mahler, one-time ace of the Atlanta Braves' staff. "I kept them off balance. I moved the fastball in and out and I changed speeds."
Mahler struck out five and walked one to hand the fading Phillies their fourth defeat in a row. He may have earned a regular starting job.
San Francisco 10, Chicago 9--Candlestick Park, with its notorious swirling winds, has a history of strange games. But few have been much stranger than this one:
--The Giants scored 10 runs although their two power hitters, Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell, each struck out four times.
--San Francisco's veteran catcher, Gary Carter, had his first five-for-five game.
--The Cubs' Don Zimmer contributed some highly questionable managing.
In a seesaw battle, the Cubs went ahead against All-Star reliever Jeff Brantley, 9-8, in the top of the ninth inning.
Then, after Carter's fifth hit had helped the Giants put runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the inning, Zimmer let right-handed reliever Les Lancaster pitch to left-handed-hitting Mike Kingery. If the Cubs had walked Kingery, it would have brought up Jose Uribe, who is 0-11 against Lancaster. Kingery, however, delivered a two-run single to win the game.
Carter also hit a home run and drove in three runs.
Atlanta 4, New York 3--Jim Presley hit his 11th home run to break a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning at Atlanta to end the Mets' five-game winning streak. It was only their second loss in the last 17 games and their fifth in the last 30.
Met starter Sid Fernandez, who had missed his two previous starts because of a sore elbow, left with a 3-2 lead after striking out 10 batters in six innings. He had given up a two-run home run to Dale Murphy.
Dave Justice homered off loser Jeff Innis to tie it in the seventh.
Montreal 3, Houston 1--The Expos have taken advantage of the Astros' inability to win on the road.
Spike Owen and Larry Walker hit home runs to support pitcher Zane Smith as the Expos won their fourth consecutive game, while dealing the Astros their 20th loss in the last 21 games on the road.
San Diego 3, St. Louis 1--Bruce Hurst, shaking a two-month slump, pitched a two-hitter at San Diego.
It was only Hurst's second victory in his last 10 starts. He walked four and struck out four.
Jack Clark broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with his 11th home run.