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BASEBALL EXTRA | ROUNDUP

Rare Home Run Feat for Mets' Hundley

May 06, 1997|From Associated Press

Todd Hundley homered from both sides of the plate and drove in five runs Monday night as the New York Mets parlayed timely hitting into a 6-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Denver.

Hundley, who finished the night four for four, hit a three-run homer left-handed off Kevin Ritz (3-4) in the second inning and added a solo homer right-handed off Mike Munoz in the eighth.

"The first one was a forkball, and he gave it away. I saw it in his glove, and I knew it was coming," Hundley said. "I was just hoping he wasn't going to bounce it, and I got it. That would have been gone anywhere."

It was the second two-homer game this year for Hundley, who hit 41 homers last year to set a record for homers by a catcher. He has seven two-homer games in his career--four featuring one from each side of the plate. Still missing, however, is a cycle.

"That's not happening with me," Hundley said. "Unless he falls down and breaks a leg or something, I'm not running any triples."

The Mets, who have won seven of nine, scored their first five runs on two-out hits, and Bobby Jones (5-2) held the Rockies to one run on six hits in seven innings.

Hundley's first homer just inside the left-field foul pole gave the Mets a 4-0 lead in the second. Ritz had retired the first two hitters in the inning, but gave up consecutive singles before Hundley's 411-foot blast.

Atlanta 2, St. Louis 1--In the teams' first meeting since the National League championship series, Denny Neagle gave up five hits in eight innings, Ryan Klesko homered and the Braves scored on a botched suicide squeeze to win at St. Louis.

"Tell me that wasn't the best game of the season," Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox said. "I don't think it gets better than that."'

The Braves have beaten the Cardinals four consecutive times since falling behind, 3-1, in the NL playoffs last fall. This one was nothing like the way the playoffs ended, however.

Two of Atlanta's last three victories in the playoffs were by scores of 14-0 and 15-0. Neagle said there was plenty of tension, but because of the matchup with Alan Benes and not the playoff rematch.

"That was the past and you try not to think about that stuff," said Neagle, who had a 2.35 ERA in two playoff appearances against St. Louis last fall. "This was my first close game in a while and it was definitely a nail-biter."

In the space of two sentences, Benes attached no special significance to the game, then conceded that he wanted to beat the Braves because of what happened in the playoffs.

"They're just another team," Benes began. "They're a good team, but they're beatable. You just have to go out and do things right."

Then he changed his mind.

"Personally, I was really excited that I was throwing tonight. I was going to go out and give it everything I had because of last year."

The Cardinals have lost three of four and had their five-game home winning streak ended.

Florida 3, Pittsburgh 0--Manager Jim Leyland won his first game against his former team as Gary Sheffield hit a two-run double to lead the Marlins at Miami.

Leyland managed the Pirates for 11 years and led them to three consecutive NL East titles from 1990-92 before accepting the Marlins' job Oct. 4.

Rick Helling (1-1), who moved out of the bullpen to make his first start this season, gave up two hits in six scoreless innings. He was taking the spot of Al Leiter, placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of a severely bruised right knee.

Helling retired his final 12 batters after pitching out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the third. Jay Powell and Robb Nen completed the four-hitter, with Nen getting his eighth save in nine chances.

Houston 9, Philadelphia 2--Rookie Chris Holt pitched seven strong innings, and Jeff Bagwell and Luis Gonzalez each homered and drove in three runs at Houston.

Bagwell hit a three-run homer, and Gonzalez had a solo homer and a run-scoring double. Craig Biggio also homered for the Astros.

Holt (3-3), pitching on three days rest, gave up one run in seven innings for his first victory since April 20.

"It doesn't bother me," Holt said about his short rest between starts. "I know a lot of guys say they can't do it. But I would do it whenever they want me to. I felt fine today."

Holt retired the first 11 batters before giving up an infield hit to Scott Rolen in the fourth inning.

"He's a good pitcher," Philadelphia's Mickey Morandini said. "He throws curve balls to lefties, sliders to right-handers and mixes in his fastball.

"[Holt] keeps the ball down and he's around the plate. When you do those things consistently, you can get people out."

Holt also got his first major-league hit, a single in the fifth inning.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

BATTING

Player: Todd Hundley

Team: New York

Performance: 4 for 4, 5 RBIs, 3 runs, 2 home runs

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Luis Gonzalez

Team: Houston

Performance: 2 for 3, 3 RBIs, 2 runs, home run

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Jeff Bagwell

Team: Houston

Performance: 1 for 3, 3 RBIs, 2 runs, home run

Team's Result: Win

PITCHING

Player: Denny Neagle

Team: Atlanta

Performance: 8 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 5 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Bobby Jones

Team: New York

Performance: 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Chris Holt

Team: Houston

Performance: 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 run

Team's Result: Win

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