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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP

Smoltz Wins 19th as Braves Avoid Sweep

August 12, 1996|From Associated Press

John Smoltz was good. Maybe a little lucky too.

Smoltz won his major league-leading 19th game thanks to Ryan Klesko and Javy Lopez hitting two-run singles in the eighth inning to give the Braves a 4-1 victory Sunday at Atlanta.

"Lucky? I don't know. I knew that sooner or later we were going to score some runs. It just happened to be the eighth," Smoltz said.

The Braves avoided a sweep of the three-game series and ended their three-game losing streak. The Rockies had won four in a row and five straight on the road.

With Atlanta trailing, 1-0, in the eighth, Marquis Grissom led off and was hit by a pitch from reliever Marvin Freeman (7-9). Chipper Jones doubled Grissom to third and Fred McGriff was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Klesko then lined a single to right, scoring Grissom easily. The throw from right fielder Angel Echevarria beat Jones to the plate, but Jones jumped around the lunging tag by catcher Jeff Reed to score the go-ahead run.

Jones missed the plate initially, then when teammates saw a safe call by umpire Rich Rieker, they yelled and he went back and dove on top of the plate.

"It was an attempted tag," said Rieker. "That's what the call was all about. To indicate to both teams that no tag had been made."

McGriff took third and Klesko second on the throw home. One out later, Lopez blooped a single to center to score both runners and make it 4-1.

Smoltz (19-6) improved to 7-0 career against Colorado as he gave up four hits, walked three and struck out 10. Mark Wohlers pitched the ninth for his 28th save.

Ellis Burks hit a solo home run in the fourth and Roger Bailey made it stand up through seven innings.

It was Burks' 32nd home run and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He also has scored a run in 10 consecutive games and drove in one for the eighth consecutive game.

Bailey, who came into the game with a 7.17 earned-run average in 13 appearances, made his sixth start. The right-hander gave up three hits, walked five and struck out five, and got the Braves to hit into three double plays.

San Diego 7, Pittsburgh 5--Thanks to two key errors by second baseman Nelson Liriano, the Padres completed their first four-game sweep of the Pirates in club history with the victory at Pittsburgh.

Liriano's errors led to five San Diego runs and Tony Gwynn had two run-scoring hits as the Padres--the league's best road team at 34-26--completed their second four-game road sweep this season. They also swept the San Francisco Giants in June.

"Nobody on this club is surprised," Gwynn said. "I like to think we're a pretty good ballclub. We're going to have to play like this the rest of the way. We can't get ahead of ourselves. We've got a long, tough road to go."

The Pirates, who have lost eight of nine and 12 of 15, had never been swept in four games by San Diego since the Padres joined the league in 1969.

Steve Parris (0-3) gave up seven hits and four runs, two earned, in 6 1/3 innings as a Pirates starter failed to win for the 18th time in 20 games. The only Pirates starters to win since July 24 were Dan Miceli on July 25 and Jon Lieber on Wednesday.

Montreal 4, Chicago 3--Moises Alou singled past second baseman Ryne Sandberg in the 10th inning as the Expos avoided a three-game sweep with a victory over the Cubs at Montreal.

Dave Silvestri led off the inning with a walk and Andy Stankiewicz was hit by a pitch. Mark Grudzielanek's sacrificed to advance the runners. After Mike Lansing was walked intentionally, and pinch-hitter Cliff Floyd hit into a fielders' choice, Alou won the game with a hit past Sandberg.

"It was just one of those days where it came down to a ground ball going through the infield for a base hit," Chicago Manager Jim Riggleman said. "You've got to get there before you can get past it. That loss today hurt."

New York 5, Florida 3--Todd Hundley hit his 36th home run and Carlos Baerga followed with his first National League homer to help lead the Mets over the Marlins at Miami.

Hundley's home-run total is the highest by a catcher since Carlton Fisk hit 37 for the Chicago White Sox in 1985. The record for a catcher is 40 by Roy Campanella of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953.

Mark Clark (11-9) gave up five hits in 8 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two to win for the first time in his past five starts.

Florida rookie Edgar Renteria extended the longest current hitting streak in the major leagues to 18 games with a single in the sixth. The streak is the longest by a rookie since Chuck Knoblauch hit in 20 consecutive games for Minnesota in 1991.

Houston 10, Philadelphia 5--Craig Biggio had four hits and Jeff Bagwell hit a two-run homer as the Astros completed a three-game sweep over the Phillies at Philadelphia.

Darryl Kile (10-6) gave up five runs and eight hits over seven-plus innings for his 50th career victory, and Biggio scored three runs and drove in two as Houston finished off its first sweep at Veterans Stadium since Aug. 1992.

St. Louis 5, San Francisco 3--Tom Pagnozzi homered twice and Donovan Osborne won for the first time in five starts as the Cardinals defeated the Giants at St. Louis.

Pagnozzi homered with two outs in the fourth inning and broke a 2-2 tie leading off the seventh with his 10th home run of the season.

Osborne (10-8) had trouble only in the sixth when he gave up a two-out, two-run home run to Glenallen Hill.

In 7 1/3 innings, Osborne struck out three and walked two, becoming the Cardinals' fourth starter to reach double figures in victories.

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