Frank Castillo came within one strike of pitching the first no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs in 23 years, losing it on a two-out triple in the ninth inning by Bernard Gilkey in a 7-0 victory Monday night over St. Louis in Chicago.
Castillo, who struck out a career-high 13, fanned the first two batters in the ninth and then got ahead 0-2 on Gilkey.
But on a 2-2 pitch, Gilkey hit a line drive to right-center field. Right fielder Sammy Sosa charged and dived, but the ball bounced several feet away and rolled for a triple. Castillo retired the next batter on a fly ball to Sosa for a one-hitter.
Castillo (11-10) is the fifth pitcher to lose a no-hitter in the final inning this season. He was trying to become the first Cub pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Milt Pappas against San Diego on Sept. 2, 1972, which also was the last no-hitter at Wrigley Field.
The Dodgers' Ramon Martinez pitched the only no-hitter this year, beating Florida, 7-0, on July 14.
San Diego 7, San Francisco 4--Ken Caminiti hit his 100th career homer and Tony Gwynn had three hits, including a two-run double at San Francisco.
Gwynn, who leads the majors with a .367 average, went three for five as the Padres extended their lead to 1 1/2 games over the Giants for third place in the NL West. Both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention.
New York Mets 2, Cincinnati 1--Jose Vizcaino scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning moments before the game was stopped by rain in New York, and play never resumed.
Red assistant manager Ray Knight was ejected after Vizcaino scored, and Cincinnati then announced it was playing the game under protest. Red Manager Davey Johnson had been yelling at home plate umpire Bob Davidson all night for allowing the game to be played.
After a delay of 1 hour 24 minutes, the game was called.
Montreal 9, Florida 0--In front of 16,230, the smallest crowd ever to see the Marlins play at Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium, the Expos' Wil Cordero generated more offense than the entire Florida team. Cordero drove in three runs with two homers.
The previous low crowd in the Marlins' three-year history was 16,332 for a Houston game on Aug. 28.
Houston 10, Pittsburgh 5--The Astros nearly blew a six-run lead before pulling away from the Pirates at Houston to stay close in the wild-card race.
Brian Hunter had two hits and three runs batted in and Dave Magadan had two hits and two RBIs for Houston. Houston got three runs in the first and three in the third for a 6-0 lead, but Pittsburgh got five consecutive singles off Shane Reynolds in the fifth and scored five runs.
Minnesota 6, Chicago White Sox 1--Chuck Knoblauch stole three bases and scored his 100th run and Pat Meares homered as the Twins won at Minneapolis. Rich Robertson (2-0) pitched a four-hitter in his second start since being called up from triple-A Salt Lake City on Sept. 16.
Detroit 7, Boston 4--Travis Fryman hit a grand slam in a six-run third inning, his second slam and his fourth homer of the year against the Red Sox at Boston.