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Saunders Becomes a Real Hit for Marlins

May 09, 1997|From Associated Press

When rookie left-hander Tony Saunders hit his hero with a pitch, it nearly spoiled his best night in baseball.

But Tom Glavine wasn't seriously hurt, so Saunders could enjoy the first home run and victory of his major league career. He led the Florida Marlins past the Atlanta Braves, 5-1, Thursday at Miami.

Glavine (4-2) was hit on his pitching hand while attempting to bunt and left the game in the fifth inning, but X-rays were negative and he isn't expected to miss a start.

Saunders (1-1), who pitched six shutout innings, has long been a fan of Glavine. When he left the game for a pinch-hitter, he phoned the Braves' clubhouse to check on him.

"I called over there and told him how badly I felt," Saunders said. "He said, 'It hurt more giving up the home run to you than being hit by you.' "

Saunders, 23, led off Florida's five-run third inning with his first big-league hit, pulling a 1-and-2 curveball over the right-field wall. The homer was only the second given up by Glavine this season.

Saunders gave up four hits and no runs in six innings, lowering his earned-run average from 6.43 to 5.00. He walked four, and only 50 of his 100 pitches were strikes.

Mark Hutton and Robb Nen completed the six-hitter for the Marlins, who turned three double plays.

Glavine gave up six hits and five runs in four innings, including a bases-loaded triple to Moises Alou. His ERA rose from 1.56 to 2.25.

Florida, which hopes to contend with Atlanta in the NL East, managed a split in the first series this season between the two teams.

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