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Martinez Can't Keep Up With Jones

May 29, 1997|From Associated Press

They took the mound as the National League's two biggest winners with eight victories each.

When they left the field, Bobby Jones stood alone with a 9-2 record after he led the New York Mets to a 7-0 victory over the Expos at Montreal on Wednesday.

Losing pitcher Pedro Martinez suffered not only his first loss of the season to drop to 8-1, but his first loss ever against the Mets after going 10-0 against them in 14 previous appearances.

Jones pitched a four-hitter for his fourth career shutout. He matched a season high with seven strikeouts and walked two as New York won for the 12th time in 17 games.

In his last four starts, Jones has allowed only four earned runs in 32 innings for a 1.13 earned-run average.

Jones said he didn't change his game plan just because he was pitching against Martinez.

"I know that he's one of the most dominating pitchers in the game, and he's having a great year," Jones said. "But I can't let that affect me or how I approach my game. I've got to go out and control their hitters. That's all I can do."

Martinez was charged with seven runs--only two were earned--in five innings, raising his major-league leading ERA to 1.36. He struck out five and walked three in his shortest outing this season.

Carlos Baerga homered and drove in four runs for the Mets. It was Baerga's first homer since Sept. 18.

Baerga, who was hitting only .161 on April 28, has averaged .337 since to raise his average to .285.

Pittsburgh 4, Chicago 1--Cub left-hander Terry Mulholland might have thought his teammates were pulling a prank by posting a fake Pittsburgh batting order. . . . Surely this couldn't be their real lineup.

Some joke.

Playing at Pittsburgh, Pirate manager Gene Lamont radically altered his lineup against Mulholland, who had won four consecutive, by starting nine right-handed hitters--five with a combined 134 games of major-league experience.

The change worked as the Pirates, who had lost five in a row at home, scored as many as four runs for only the second time in their last seven games in Three Rivers Stadium.

Despite losing eight of their previous 11 overall, the Pirates moved into a first-place tie with the idle Houston Astros in the NL Central.

Emil Brown, one of four Pittsburgh rookie starters, hit his first major-league homer and Joe Randa hit three doubles and drove in two runs to lead the Pirates.

"When you've got nothing but kids, you don't worry about playing them," said Lamont, who has seven veterans on the disabled list.

Brown, who hadn't played above Class A until this season, made it 1-0 by homering in the first. He became the fourth Pirate player to hit his first career homer this season.

Randa has a 10-game hitting streak since moving into the No. 5 spot in the batting order when Kevin Elster broke a wrist. Randa has five extra-base hits in his last two starts.

"I don't think it has anything to do with me hitting fifth," said Randa, who raised his average to .290. "We have been struggling, and we knew, with so many guys down, somebody would have to step up and start driving in some runs. We don't have a lot of big bombers to hit three-run homers. We have to manufacture runs."

Jason Kendall went two for three with one RBI while batting third for the first time in his career.

Mulholland (4-4), 4-0 with a 2.01 ERA over his previous six starts, was a victim of his own poor fielding while being outpitched by Steve Cooke (4-6), who had lost his previous three decisions and had never beaten the Cubs.

Cooke allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, striking out six in his first victory since beating Florida 4-0 on May 7. In his following three starts, he gave up eight earned runs in 13 1-3 innings as the Pirates lost by a combined score of 23-4.

Cincinnati 2, Philadelphia 0--Kent Mercker ended his zero for seven slump as a starting pitcher to help the Reds take three of four games in the series at Cincinnati, leaving the Reds tied with the Phillies for the worst record in the major leagues at 19-32.

Mercker (2-5) has been the Reds' hard-luck starter this season, getting his only other victory in relief. The Reds lost all of his seven previous starts, in large part because they scored a total of only 14 runs in those games.

Jeff Shaw pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

Barry Larkin completed a sizzling series by picking up two of Cincinnati's seven hits, making him eight for 12 in the series with five singles, two doubles, one triple and four walks.

Garrett Stephenson (2-1) took the loss.

The start of the game was delayed 51 minutes by rain.




Player: Joe Randa

Team: Pittsburgh

Performance: 3 for 4, 2 RBIs, 3 doubles

Team's Result: Win


Player: Carlos Baerga

Team: New York

Performance: 3 for 4, 4 RBIs, 2 runs, homer

Team's Result: Win


Player: Bobby Jones

Team: New York

Performance: 9 innings, 4 hits, no runs, 7 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win


Player: Steve Cooke

Team: Pittsburgh

Performance: 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 6 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

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