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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Mets' Power Surge Beats Reds and Rijo

April 17, 1993|From Associated Press

Howard Johnson called his own home run trot ugly.

Johnson, however, was not too concerned with looks after he ended the longest homer-less streak of his career Friday night with a two-run shot against Jose Rijo. Eddie Murray also homered and the New York Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds, 3-1, at Cincinnati.

Murray ended Rijo's streak of 65 innings without giving up a homer by pulling a slider over the right-field wall during the first inning. It was only the Mets' third homer.

Johnson, who had only three singles in 28 at-bats (.107), hit his first homer in 136 at-bats for a 3-0 lead during the fourth. He stumbled as he rounded the bases in his first home run since last June 27.

"I missed my steps going around second base," Johnson said. "It wasn't pretty, but I'll improve with practice."

The Mets hit only two homers in their first eight games. They broke out against a pitcher who hadn't given up a homer since former Met Kevin Bass hit one Aug. 28 at Shea Stadium.

The Reds' fourth consecutive loss left them 2-8, their worst start since an identical mark in 1966. The Reds got only seven hits in 7 2/3 innings against Pete Schourek (1-1) and have only five extra-base hits in their last six games.

Rijo (1-1), who struck out nine in seven innings, has been hurt the most by the lack of offense. He has given up only four runs in three starts for a 1.61 earned-run average, but the Reds have scored only four runs.

"He made two mistakes tonight and that was it--two mistakes the whole night," Johnson said.

John Franco, the third Met pitcher, worked the ninth for his first save since Aug. 25. Franco, who underwent elbow surgery Sept. 29, allowed Reggie Sanders' first homer with two outs.

Murray hit his second homer with two out in the first, extending his hitting streak to six games.

Red shortstop Barry Larkin was hit on the left elbow by Schourek during the sixth inning and left the game. The Reds said Larkin sustained a severe bruise on the elbow, and there was no way of telling how much time he might miss.

*

Chicago 3, Philadelphia 1--Mark Grace's two-run double keyed a three-run first inning at Chicago as the Cubs ended the Phillies' five-game winning streak.

The Cubs, who have handed the 8-2 Phillies both of their defeats, won consecutive games for the first time this season.

Cub right-hander Mike Morgan (1-2) worked out of a first-inning, bases-loaded jam. He left in the eighth inning after Len Dykstra opened with a single for the Phillies' fourth hit.

Paul Assenmacher relieved and gave up successive singles to John Kruk, Dave Hollins and Darren Daulton before Bob Scanlan got the last two outs.

Terry Mulholland (2-1) gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out four in seven innings for the loss.

*

San Francisco 1, Atlanta 0--John Burkett outdueled John Smoltz by combining with Rod Beck on a six-hitter at San Francisco.

Kirt Manwaring drove in the game's only run.

Smoltz (1-2), who earlier lost 1-0 to Chicago, pitched eight innings but was again victimized by an offense that has produced one or no runs in seven of 12 games.

Burkett (3-0), the first National League pitcher to win three games, has allowed only three earned runs. Beck pitched the ninth for his fourth save, giving the Giants six wins in seven games.

The first 13 Giant batters were retired by Smoltz before Barry Bonds hit a double to left with one out in the fifth. After Royce Clayton struck out, Manwaring bounced a single up the middle to score Bonds.

Burkett struck out seven and did not walk a batter. Smoltz gave up four hits, walked one and struck out six.

*

Houston 9, Florida 3--Jeff Bagwell had a bases-loaded triple, and Greg Swindell had two hits and drove in a run to help the Astros win for the first time at the Astrodome.

The Astros had a season-high 15 hits. Two-out singles by Swindell, Craig Biggio and Steve Finley loaded the bases for Bagwell during the fourth inning. His triple to the right-field corner gave Houston a 5-1 lead.

Swindell (2-1), signed as a free agent from Cincinnati, entered the game with an 0-1 career record 3.09 ERA in four Astrodome starts. He gave up 11 hits, struck out four and walked one in 7 2/3 innings.

*

Montreal 3, Colorado 2--Delino DeShields and Larry Walker returned to the lineup and led the Expos to victory at Montreal.

DeShields homered and Walker had a two-run double. Walker was limited to pinch-hitting duties over the previous six games because of a pulled hamstring, and DeShields missed eight games because of chicken pox.

Two of the six hits against Kent Bottenfield (1-1) were home runs. Andres Galarraga got his third in the second inning. Jerald Clark's first--with two out in the ninth--cost Bottenfield his first complete game in the majors.

Mel Rojas got the final out for his fourth save.

Loser Butch Henry (0-2) gave up five hits, struck out one and walked four in 6 2/3 innings.

*

San Diego 5, St. Louis 1--Derek Bell had two homers and drove in four runs as the Padres won their first home game after four consecutive losses.

Andy Benes (2-1) gave up four hits in eight innings for the Padres. He struck out five and walked three. Roger Mason pitched a perfect ninth for the Padres.

Bell, acquired in a spring-training trade that sent Darrin Jackson to Toronto, hit a three-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the third.

Both homers came against Joe Magrane (0-1).

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