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Heavy Dose of Smoltz Does In Pirates

May 12, 1997|From Associated Press

Pittsburgh Pirate pitchers found out what their hitters have known for years. It can be very frustrating to oppose John Smoltz when he is in a groove.

Smoltz did in the Pirates with his arm and his bat, pitching five-hit ball for seven innings and twice starting run-scoring innings with hits in the Atlanta Braves' 8-2 victory Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Javy Lopez and Jeff Blauser homered for the second day in a row, Chipper Jones had two run-scoring singles and Andruw Jones had three hits with two RBIs.

Smoltz (4-3), last year's National League Cy Young Award winner, helped himself win for the third time in four decisions with a double, single and a walk.

Smoltz, a .162 career hitter, has been nearly as big a factor at the plate this season as he has been on the mound, batting .400 with two extra-base hits.

"Our guys weren't trying to throw the ball down the middle to him. We know he hits the ball well," Pittsburgh Manager Gene Lamont said. "Their pitchers can do a lot of things to help themselves. They're good hitters and they field their positions well."

Said Smoltz: "It feels good that I helped create some runs. Those were two big innings for us and that can play on an opposing pitcher's mind. . . If you can get the top of our lineup up there with some runners on, it's nice."

Florida 6, Houston 3--Alex Fernandez pitched six innings and hit a two-run double for the first RBIs of his career to lead the Marlins at Miami.

"I love hitting," Fernandez said. "I take pride in it. Whatever I do, I want to do well."

Fernandez (4-4) threw 128 pitches but limited the damage to Houston's three-run fifth. He gave up six hits and three walks.

"I wasn't close to having my best stuff," he said. "I had to battle. I missed a few pitches, but I had good stuff when I needed it."

Florida's Moises Alou had two hits, two walks, two runs scored and an RBI. Houston outhit the Marlins, 8-7, but stranded five runners in scoring position.

Robb Nen pitched a hitless ninth for his ninth save in 10 chances.

New York 6, St. Louis 4--Pinch-hitters Carl Everett and Butch Huskey hit consecutive homers in the ninth inning as the Mets moved over .500 for the first time in nearly three years with a victory at St. Louis.

Carlos Baerga led off the ninth with a single off Dennis Eckersley (0-2), and Everett connected for his third homer. Huskey followed with his second pinch-homer in four days. He hit a game-winning homer in the ninth Wednesday at Houston.

"The game didn't change on two pitches," St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa said. "It changed during the second half of the game, when it started having a bad odor to it."

Cory Lidle (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth for his first major league victory, and John Franco worked the ninth for his 10th save.

Eckersley blew a save for the first time in eight chances this season.

"He's not as overpowering as he used to be," said Everett of Eckersley. "Off the bat, I knew it was out."

The Mets are 5-1 against the Cardinals the last two weeks and have won 11 of their last 15 games.

Philadelphia 3, Colorado 1--Curt Schilling tied a career-high with 12 strikeouts and pitched a four-hitter as the Phillies beat the Rockies at Philadelphia for their season-high third consecutive victory.

"I really didn't think I had my best stuff today but I still felt like I could win," Schilling said. "I'd like to get strikeouts but I just want to get through a game without making a lot of pitches."

The Rockies lost their fifth in a row, their longest skid of the season.

Schilling (5-3), who leads the majors with 68 strikeouts, did not walk a batter. He struck out Andres Galarraga with a runner on third to end the game.

The only run Schilling gave up came in the third inning when Walt Weiss beat out an infield single, was sacrificed to second and scored on Eric Young's single.

San Diego 5, Cincinnati 4--Archi Cianfrocco singled in the winning run in the 11th inning at San Diego as the Padres won consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month.

Derrek Lee, who had struck out in his previous seven at-bats, drew a leadoff walk from Mike Remlinger (0-2), Greg Vaughn singled and Cianfrocco followed with a liner to center.

Trevor Hoffman (1-2) pitched two innings, helping San Diego to its first two-game winning streak since April 11 and 13 at Philadelphia. The Padres lost 16 of their next 22, including eight in a row.

Jeff Shaw of the Reds struck out a career-high seven in four innings after Kent Mercker gave up four runs and five hits in five innings. Padre starter Andy Ashby, who has pitched seven or more innings in all eight of his starts, gave up four runs in eight innings.




Player: Barry Bonds

Team: San Francisco

Performance: 2 for 4, double, home run

Team's Result: Win


Player: Andruw Jones

Team: Atlanta

Performance: 3 for 4, two RBIs, run, stolen base

Team's Result: Win


Player: Gregg Jefferies

Team: Philadelphia

Performance: 2 for 4, two RBIs, run, double

Team's Result: Win


Player: Curt Schilling

Team: Philadelphia

Performance: Nine innings, one run, four hits, 12 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win


Player: John Smoltz

Team: Atlanta

Performance: Seven innings, two runs, five hits, five strikeouts

Team's Result: Win


Player: Alex Fernandez

Team: Florida

Performance: Six innings, three runs, six hits, five strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

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