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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Expos Close to Within Five Games of Lead

September 13, 1993|From Associated Press

On Aug. 20, the Montreal Expos trailed the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies by 14 1/2 games in the National League East.

Today, that margin is only five games.

Larry Walker singled across the winning run with the bases loaded in the ninth inning Sunday, giving the Expos a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Montreal. It was the Expos' sixth consecutive victory and their 15th in 16 games.

Meanwhile, Houston defeated the Phillies, 9-2, which means that Montreal has gained 9 1/2 games in 24 days.

"There are some people across the border who think we've been in a pennant race the last three or four days," Expo Manager Felipe Alou said. "I just hope it stays that way."

The Expos loaded the bases against Scott Service (2-1) with one out in the ninth. Marquis Grissom singled before walks to Orestes Marrero and Moises Alou. Walker greeted reliever Kevin Wickander with his hit to right field.

John Wetteland (9-3) pitched one inning for the victory.

"The only thing that can stop us now is us," Walker said. "Our pitching has been outstanding, and everybody is contributing. Seeing the Phillies losing again makes you feel a little jittery, but it helps."

Jacob Brumfield tied the score, 2-2, by hitting a home run against Montreal reliever Mel Rojas to open the eighth. The homer deprived Expo starter Dennis Martinez of his fifth consecutive victory. Martinez, one victory shy of becoming the seventh pitcher to record 100 victories in each league, gave up a run and four hits in seven innings.

Reggie Sanders hit his 18th homer for the Reds.

"We had to suffer through three months of seeing Philadelphia score five in the first inning," Alou said. "It's about time to see it the other way."

Houston 9, Philadelphia 2--Chris Donnels, a former standout at Loyola Marymount, hit his first homer in the majors to lead the Astros at Philadelphia.

The victory was the Astros' sixth in seven games.

The Phillies have lost five of seven.

"Major slump? I don't think so," Phillie Manager Jim Fregosi said. "We're not playing well, but when this happened before, we always bounced back."

Donnels replaced Jeff Bagwell in the first inning after Bagwell was hit by a pitch and suffered a fractured right wrist. Bagwell will be flown back to Houston for further examination. He had played in a team-record 304 consecutive games, the second longest streak in the majors behind Cal Ripken of the Orioles.

Donnels hit a two-run homer against Ben Rivera (12-9) in the third to give Houston a 4-0 lead.

Pete Harnisch (14-8) gave up six hits, struck out two and walked three in six innings. In his last three starts, he has a 1.80 earned-run average.

Craig Biggio hit his 19th homer for the Astros.

New York 5, Chicago 0--Sid Fernandez pitched a four-hitter at New York as the Mets ended a season-high eight-game losing streak.

Fernandez (4-6) struck out six and walked three in his first complete game this season.

Eddie Murray homered and drove in three runs.

Bill Brennan (0-1) started for the first time since 1988 and gave up all five runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

With the Mets leading, 1-0, Murray hit his 25th homer of the season and 439th of his career after Todd Hundley's one-out double in the fifth.

Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 3--Al Martin won the game with a ninth-inning home run at Pittsburgh.

With one out, Martin hit the first pitch from reliever Mike Munoz (1-1) for his 15th homer, first against a left-hander. Tony Menendez (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

The Pirates tied it, 3-3, in the sixth on a run-scoring triple by Orlando Merced and a sacrifice fly by Jeff King.

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