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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Expos Take Success, Strike in Stride

August 09, 1994|From Associated Press

It has never been better than this for the Montreal Expos: first place, a big lead, the best record in baseball. What an awful time for a players' strike.

Moises Alou hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning and the Expos won at Pittsburgh, 3-2, to move 33 games over .500 for only the second season in franchise history and the first in 15 seasons.

Gil Heredia (6-3) limited the Pirates to six hits over seven innings. The Expos, who already have clinched being in first place on Friday, when the strike is scheduled to start, have won 18 of 20 games and are 72-39.

"We're not worrying about a strike. . . .whenever we come back we'll still be in first place," Alou said.

The only uncertainty is when that will be: next week, next month or next year.

"We don't see it that way. We still believe some cooler heads and more intelligent people will take over," Expo Manager Felipe Alou said. "If we do strike, we hope it won't be a long one. We don't want to go into the playoffs after six weeks off. We think we're good enough to win this thing if we play the rest of the season."

Atlanta 6, Cincinnati 4--Fred McGriff hit two of the Braves' three homers at Cincinnati, where Steve Avery struck out a career-high 11.

The Reds' third loss in the four-game series cut their lead in the Central to half a game over idle Houston.

McGriff drove in four runs with his 31st and 32nd homers off John Roper (6-2), who has won only once since July 1. David Justice also homered.

San Francisco 5, Chicago 4--Todd Benzinger had a pinch-hit homer with one out in the eighth inning at Chicago, and the Giants ended a six-game losing streak.

Benzinger, batting for Dave Martinez, hit a 1-and-0 pitch off Dan Plesac (2-3) for the game-winner into an 18 m.p.h. wind. It was the Giants' second pinch-hit homer this season--both by Benzinger.

New York 3, Philadelphia 2--Road warrior Bobby Jones won his fifth consecutive decision, and Jim Lindeman homered, doubled and scored twice for the Mets at Philadelphia.

It was the fifth loss in a row for the Phillies, all at home.

Jones (12-7) is 8-1 on the road.

St. Louis 11, Florida 1--Todd Zeile hit two homers and drove in a career-high six runs at Miami to help Rheal Cormier (3-2) earn his first victory since May 14.

Zeile hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, his career-high 18th, and added a three-run homer in the seventh. With the bases loaded in the eighth, he was hit by a pitch to force in a run.

The Marlins have lost seven in a row at home.

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