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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Expos Gain Ground on the Phillies

September 20, 1993|From Associated Press

The Philadelphia Phillies gave Montreal one more chance to get back into the National League East race, and the Expos took it.

Wil Cordero hit a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning and the Expos, helped by a key error, rallied for 6-5 victory Sunday that moved them closer to the first-place Phillies.

Cordero's bases-loaded hit against Mitch Williams (3-6) moved Montreal back to within four games of the Phillies. The Expos won twice in the three-game series, their last against Philadelphia.

A loss would have dropped the Expos six games back with only 13 left. Instead, Montreal won for the 22nd time in 26 games.

"This was the hardest series I've ever played in my life," Expo outfielder Larry Walker said. "The young kids on this team never give up. We just keep plugging along, never say die."

The Expos trailed, 5-4, entering the ninth. But with one out, Delino DeShields singled against Williams and stole second. Rookie Rondell White then walked.

Walker followed with a sharp grounder that bounced off first baseman John Kruk's chest. Walker slid head-first into first, barely beating Kruk's throw to Williams.

Williams, however, insisted that first base umpire Charlie Williams blew the call.

"Impact umpiring takes its toll again," the pitcher said. "There's no way in the world he's safe. You can't give a team like them four outs. But he (Williams) did, and game over."

Kruk's error loaded the bases, but Sean Berry--who flied out to end Saturday's loss--popped up to Kruk.

Cordero, however, won it with a grounder between third baseman Dave Hollins and the bag.

"I thought Mitch beat him there, but then again, defense is the name of the game and we gave them too many chances," Phillie Manager Jim Fregosi said.

"We lost the game, that's all. We've got work to do."

Philadelphia has lost eight of its last 13 games.

"We have to look at the positive side," Phillie catcher Darren Daulton said. "This series was a good experience, good to be involved in even if we lost two of three.

"If anybody in April had asked me if I'd like to be four games ahead with 13 left to play, I would have said yes. We're still in comfortable shape."

Tim Scott (7-2) earned the victory. Williams was trying for his 40th save, which would have matched Steve Bedrosian's club record set in 1987.

San Francisco 7, Cincinnati 3--Matt Williams hit two home runs, giving him 10 in 15 games, and drove in five runs as the Giants completed a three-game sweep at Cincinnati.

The Giants, who began the series with an eight-game losing streak, have 92 victories, the same number as in their 1989 pennant-winning season. They also set a San Francisco record with their 47th road victory.

"You can't count your chickens, but it's a good sign, this last three days," Williams said. "We're hitting balls hard again and putting pressure on the defense to make plays. In that respect, we're fine."

Williams hit a three-run homer in the fourth against Bobby Ayala (6-9) to put the Giants ahead to stay. The Reds handed the Giants another run later in the inning on center fielder Jacob Brumfield's error.

Williams added a two-run homer against Scott Service in the eighth, his 37th. Williams has driven in 20 runs in his last 18 games, and has four two-homer games this year.

"From my first at-bat in the first game of this series, I didn't see too many pitches from the middle of the plate in," Williams said. "You've got to take what they give you. They happened to leave a couple of balls up and over the plate."

Scott Sanderson (4-2) struck out seven and gave up four hits in five innings. Sanderson gave up consecutive solo homers in the fifth by rookie Keith Kessinger and Thomas Howard.

Sanderson has given up 10 homers in seven starts since the Giants claimed on waivers from the Angels on Aug. 3.

St. Louis 7, Pittsburgh 6--Mark Whiten's two-run, two-out double in the ninth inning at St. Louis scored pinch-runner Lonnie Maclin and Gregg Jefferies to give the Cardinals the victory.

St. Louis, which fell behind in the top of the ninth, 6-5, on Dave Clark's two-run homer against Mike Perez (7-2), began its rally with Bernard Gilkey's one-out walk. Gilkey was forced at second base by pinch-hitter Todd Zeile, but Jefferies walked on four pitches. Whiten followed with a double against Mark Dewey (1-2).

Pittsburgh relievers had given up only one earned run in the past 25 2/3 innings.

San Diego 6, Houston 3--Phil Plantier hit his 32nd home run at Houston as the Padres ended a four-game losing streak.

Plantier is within two homers of the team record for homers by an outfielder, set by Dave Winfield in 1979. The Padres' mark for home runs in a season is 38 by Nate Colbert in 1970 and 1972.

Andy Ashby (3-9) gave up three runs in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked none. Mark Davis pitched two innings for his fourth save.

Darryl Kile (15-7) gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings.

Andujar Cedeno hit his eighth homer for the Astros.

Florida 2, Chicago 1--Chris Hammond gave up four hits in 7 2/3 innings and drove in a run with a squeeze to lead the Marlins at Chicago.

Hammond (11-11), who had lost seven consecutive decisions since July 2, struck out four and walked three. Bryan Harvey struck out the side in the ninth for his 45th save in 48 chances.

Steve Trachsel, a former standout at Cal State Long Beach, lost in his major league debut, giving up two runs and four hits in seven innings.

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