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BASEBALL EXTRA | ROUNDUP

Martinez Joins Fast Company at 8-0

May 24, 1997|From Associated Press

Pedro Martinez isn't letting himself get carried away by his unbeaten start.

Martinez pitched a five-hitter with a season-high 12 strikeouts to improve his record to 8-0 Friday night as the Expos defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-1, at Montreal.

The right-hander dominated from the outset, striking out nine of the first 13 batters he faced. He did not give up a walk in his third complete game of the season.

Martinez joined Toronto's Roger Clemens and Baltimore's Jimmy Key as the only pitchers to start the year 8-0. Atlanta's Danny Neagle is 7-0.

"I can't compete with those guys," said Martinez. "They're older and more experienced. They've proven they're better than me. I've got to keep working and keep my feet on the ground."

The Expos ended a three-game losing streak.

Martinez, who lowered his league-leading earned-run average to 1.17, threw 80 strikes in his 105 pitches and produced the 12th game of 10 or more strikeouts in his career.

"Martinez can dominate a game with a great fastball and a good change-up," Pittsburgh Manager Gene Lamont said. "He's one of the best in the majors. You go in just hoping he'll make some mistakes."

Darrin Fletcher scored the go-ahead run in the Montreal seventh and drove in two more in the eighth with a bases-loaded bloop single to right.

Chicago 3, Cincinnati 1--Sammy Sosa homered and Terry Mullholland gave up only five hits in eight innings to help the resurgent Cubs move farther ahead of the Reds with a victory at Cincinnati.

Since opening the season with a National League-record 14 losses, the Cubs have surged past the Reds by going 17-14. Cincinnati has the worst record in the major leagues at 14-31 and trails the fourth-place Cubs by three games, its biggest deficit of the season.

Cincinnati Manager Ray Knight was in the stadium but not on the bench as he finished his three-game suspension for an outburst at umpire Jerry Layne.

Mulholland (4-3) gave up four singles and Joe Oliver's eighth-inning double as he extended his streak of impressive pitching. The left-hander is 4-0 with two no-decisions over his last six starts, giving up only 10 runs over 44 2/3 innings.

San Francisco 2, St. Louis 0--Shawn Estes pitched a two-hitter for his second shutout of the season to outduel rookie Matt Morris as the Giants defeated the Cardinals at San Francisco.

Estes (6-2), who struck out five and walked three, retired the last 16 batters he faced. He gave up only leadoff singles by John Mabry in the third inning and Delino DeShields in the fourth. Both runners were eliminated on double plays.

Estes, who got 14 outs on ground balls and did permit a runner past second base, also was helped by a couple of excellent defensive plays.

Right fielder Glenallen Hill made a diving catch of Gary Gaetti's sinking liner with two men on in the fourth and third baseman Mark Lewis made an acrobatic play to throw out DeShields on a bunt in the sixth.

Barry Bonds had a run-scoring groundout to drive in the Giants' first run in the fourth and Jose Vizcaino added a run-scoring single in the sixth.

Morris (1-3), making his ninth major league start, pitched his first complete game and gave up two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out seven.

Colorado 8, Houston 7--Dante Bichette homered and drove in three runs and rookie Bobby Jones earned his first career win to lead the Rockies at Denver.

Ellis Burks homered for the fourth consecutive game as the Rockies won for just the fourth time in 11 games.

Colorado was playing its first home game since returning from a 13-game road trip.

Jones (1-0), making his second career start, gave up 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Steve Reed pitched the ninth for his fourth save in seven tries.

Larry Walker, the league's leading hitter, went two for three for the Rockies, extending his hitting streak to 11 games.

Brad Ausmus had three hits and two RBIs for the Astros, who have lost seven of 11.

Philadelphia 2, New York 1--Rookie Garrett Stephenson gave up one run and three hits in six innings at Philadelphia as the Phillies handed the Mets their fourth loss in 13 games.

Stephenson (2-0), making only his third major-league start, gave up Bernard Gilkey's leadoff homer in the second. The right-hander, who has a 1.35 earned run average, struck out four and walked three.

"This guy really pitches, he doesn't just throw," Philadelphia Manager Terry Francona said about Stephenson. "Tonight we found out that the kid also has a lot of guts, he really battled out there."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

BATTING

Player: Sammy Sosa

Team: Chicago

Performance: 1 for 4, run, RBI, home run

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Darrin Fletcher

Team: Montreal

Performance: 2 for 4, run, 2 RBIs

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Bernard Gilkey

Team: New York

Performance: 2 for 3, run, RBI, home run

Team's Result: Loss

PITCHING

Player: Pedro Martinez

Team: Montreal

Performance: 9 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 12 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: T. Mulholland

Team: Chicago

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

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: G. Stephenson

Team: Philadelphia

Performance: 6 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 4 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

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