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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP

Cardinals Keep Playing Central Role

August 27, 1996|From Associated Press

Nothing stopped the St. Louis Cardinals from moving to within half a game of the Houston Astros in the tight NL Central race.

Not an early Astro lead Monday night at Houston.

Not the early wildness of Cardinal pitcher Andy Benes.

Not even a fan falling from his seat onto the right-field warning track.

With Willie McGee hitting a two-run homer, the Cardinals hung on for a 3-2 victory in a game that was delayed 10 minutes when the fan made his unexpected entrance.

McGee had just reached on an infield hit in the eighth inning when the fan appeared. Astro center fielder Brian Hunter and right fielder Derek Bell ran to assist the fan, who did not move and was taken off on a stretcher to a nearby hospital.

"I went over there and asked him if he was all right," Bell said. "He was kind of slurring his words and he said 'somebody pushed me.' "

The fan, George Shaver, 25, was examined in the emergency room at Hermann Hospital and did not seem to have any serious injuries.

The victory gave St. Louis a split of the four-game series with Houston. The Cardinals lead the season series, 8-2, with three more games to be played in St. Louis next week.

Benes (14-9) gave up a home run to Craig Biggio in the first inning, and loaded the bases with one out. But Benes escaped without giving up another run and went on to pitch seven innings, striking out 10. Dennis Eckersley worked the ninth for his 23rd save.

With the score tied, 2-2, Royce Clayton singled home Mike Gallego with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.

Mike Hampton (10-9) struck out seven in 7 1/3 innings.

San Francisco 1, Philadelphia 0--Giant pitcher William VanLandingham gave up two hits over eight innings at San Francisco, retiring 17 consecutive batters during one stretch, to improve his record to 8-13.

Philadelphia's Curt Schilling (6-7) pitched well enough to win.

Schilling, 2-1 with an 0.86 earned-run average against the Giants this season, struck out 11, including seven consecutive batters between the second and fourth innings.

But Schilling surrendered a run-scoring single to Glenallen Hill in the first inning.

Colorado 9, Cincinnati 5--Andres Galarraga, the major league leader in runs batted in, homered, doubled twice and drove in three runs at Denver, helping Bill Swift win for the first time this season in a game shortened to seven innings because of rain.

The Rockies had four homers and a club record-tying 10 extra-base hits. Galarraga increased his RBI total to 124.

Swift (1-0) was making only his second start of the season and his first since arthroscopic shoulder surgery June 13.

Cincinnati's Kevin Jarvis fell to 6-7.

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