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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Guzman's No-Hit Bid Spoiled With Two Out in Ninth

April 07, 1993|From Associated Press

Jose Guzman, a nervous wreck before his debut with the Chicago Cubs, was settled enough to nearly make history.

Guzman was within one out of a no-hitter Tuesday at Chicago when Atlanta's Otis Nixon singled and the Cubs held on to beat the Braves, 1-0, in the second game of the season.

Had he gotten the last out, it would have been the earliest no-hitter in major league history by one day. On April 7, 1979, Ken Forsch of Houston beat Atlanta, 6-0.

Mark Lemke and pinch-hitter Francisco Cabrera led off the ninth inning with easy outs. But Nixon, who made the final out of the 1992 World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, then singled to left field to deny the Cubs their first no-hitter since Milt Pappas beat the San Diego Padres on Sept. 2, 1972, at Wrigley Field.

"I was excited and nervous," said Guzman, who didn't seem disturbed over losing the no-hit bid. "I'm happy we won and now I have to get ready for my next game."

Guzman said he was nervous in making his first National League start and "I got more nervous when the fans stood up and cheered every pitch in the ninth inning."

He said the pitch to Nixon that spoiled his bid was "a fastball down the middle. I didn't want to put it down the middle. I did that a couple of times but the defense helped me."

Guzman, signed as a free agent from the Texas Rangers last December, bowed his head after Nixon's hit but then finished with a one-hitter for his fourth career shutout.

San Francisco 2, St. Louis 1--Barry Bonds went hitless in his debut with the Giants, but baseball's highest paid player drove in the winning run with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly at St. Louis.

Will Clark led off the seventh with a ground-rule double off Bob Tewksbury and advanced when shortstop Ozzie Smith bobbled Matt Williams' grounder. Bonds followed with a fly ball to deep left and Clark scored without a play.

Bonds, who signed a $43.75-million, six-year contract with the Giants in the off-season, lined out to short in his first at-bat, struck out in the fourth and got an intentional walk in the ninth.

A crowd of 50,892 on opening night saw Dusty Baker win for the first time as a major league manager.

John Burkett pitched six strong innings in his second opening day start, giving up a run on six hits. Rod Beck pitched the ninth for a save.

Pittsburgh 9, San Diego 4--Tim Wakefield was wild at times, but his knuckleball was effective enough to get the job done at Pittsburgh.

Wakefield overcame a career-high nine walks but gave up only two hits in seven-plus innings. He struck out nine and improved his career record to 9-1.

Wakefield was as confusing to Padre pitchers as he was to Padre hitters. The former minor league first baseman went two for three with a double and run batted in.

John Candelaria, pitching for the Pirates for the first time since 1985, got the final four outs for the save.

Philadelphia 5, Houston 3--Curt Schilling won the battle with Greg Swindell, the Astros' new $17-million man, and the Phillies won at Houston.

A day after the Phillies defeated Doug Drabek, they roughed up the Astros' other big free-agent pitcher and ruined his debut. Lenny Dykstra led off with a triple, and Philadelphia went on to score four runs in the first three innings.

Swindell gave up five runs, four earned, in 7 1/3 innings. He walked none and struck out five. Schilling, traded by Houston to Philadelphia in 1992, gave up six hits and left after Jeff Bagwell led off the ninth with a double. Mitch Williams relieved and gave up a run-scoring single by Luis Gonzalez with two outs before getting the save.

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