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BASEBALL EXTRA | ROUNDUP

Daulton a Surprise Hero for Phillies

May 11, 1997|From Associated Press

Darren Daulton didn't expect to be playing, much less winning games for the Philadelphia Phillies.

But his two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th at Philadelphia gave the Phillies a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.

Plagued with knee injuries as a catcher his entire career, Daulton switched to first base in spring training before volunteering to play right field after injuries sidelined Danny Tartabull and Rex Hudler.

"Who'd have thought I'd be playing right field for the Phillies this time in May," said Daulton, who played only five games last year. "I think it was a shock to everybody when I came back. I feel real good right now and I'm just happy to be playing."

Daulton, who has been rumored to be on the trading block since spring training, is batting a team-high .329 with three homers and 15 runs batted in.

Gregg Jefferies opened the 10th inning with a single off Steve Reed (0-1), but was forced on Mickey Morandini's grounder. After Scott Rolen struck out, Daulton lined a 1-1 pitch over the right-field fence for his third homer of the season.

"I didn't know if it would go out, but it got on something and rode out of there," Daulton said.

Houston 4, Florida 2--It was only the fifth inning, and Astro manager Larry Dierker didn't want to waste the opportunity. So in a pinch, he turned to Ricky Gutierrez.

Gutierrez, pinch-hitting for Bill Spiers, singled in the go-ahead runs in the fifth inning to lead the Astros at Miami.

"This stands out as the biggest pinch hit of my career," said Gutierrez, now five for 25 in pinch-hit appearances.

Said Dierker: "Sometimes the pivotal inning is the fifth, not the ninth. Even though there was a lot of game left, I knew that Spiers had only seen a left-hander a few times this year and I thought Gutierrez had a better chance of getting us the hit."

Houston ended an 11-game losing streak in Florida and sent the Marlins to just their fifth loss in 20 games at Pro Player Stadium. The game drew a sellout crowd of 42,132, the Marlins' largest at home since July 3, 1994, against Atlanta.

Atlanta 9, Pittsburgh 3--Jeff Blauser hit a grand slam an inning after Ryan Klesko and Javy Lopez homered in succession, and the Braves finally solved the Pirate starting pitching at Pittsburgh.

The low-salaried Pirates had unexpectedly surged into the NL Central lead largely at the Braves' expense, winning three of four as their starters limited Atlanta to five runs--or only 1.25 runs a game.

Blauser's fourth career grand slam made it 7-0 in the third, allowing former Pirates pitcher Denny Neagle (6-0) to coast to a career-high sixth consecutive victory. He lasted six innings, giving up three runs and striking out nine.

New York 2, St. Louis 0--Bobby Jones and John Franco combined on a three-hitter and John Olerud homered as the New York Mets reached .500 for the first time in over a year in a victory at St. Louis.

The Mets finally reached .500 after three tries this season and for the first time since April 5, 1996. New York (18-18) hasn't been .500 at this point in a season since June 3, 1994.

Jones retired the last eight batters he faced. Franco got his ninth save.

San Diego 9, Cincinnati 6--John Flaherty and Steve Finley each hit two-run doubles during a six-run third inning to lead the Padres at San Diego.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

BATTING

*--*

Player Team Performance Team's Result Jeff Blauser Atlanta Grand slam, 4 RBIs Win Darren Daulton Philadelphia 2-run homer with 2 outs in bottom 10th Win John Olerud New York 2 for 3, home run Win

*--*

PITCHING

*--*

Player Team Performance Team's Result Bobby Jones New York 8 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs Win Kirk Rueter San Francisco 8 innings, 4 hits, 8 strikeouts Win Mark Leiter Philadelphia 7 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs Win

*--*

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