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Bullinger Gets Over His Shortcomings

June 07, 1997|From Associated Press

Pitcher Jim Bullinger bounced back from his worst career start with one of his best.

Bullinger, who didn't get out of the first inning in his previous outing, pitched a six-hitter for his third career shutout and started a two-run fifth with an infield single as the Montreal Expos defeated the Chicago Cubs, 3-0, Friday at Montreal.

"I have four pitches," Bullinger said. "I used them all, threw them all and all of them were effective."

Mike Lansing and Mark Grudzielanek hit consecutive run-scoring doubles in the fifth and Henry Rodriguez hit a home run in the eighth as the Expos ended a losing streak at three games.

Following the shortest outing of his career, Bullinger (3-5) won for the first time in six starts. He had two strikeouts and four walks. He lasted only two-thirds of an inning Sunday, giving up four runs and four hits in an 11-2 loss to the Pirates.

"The main thing for him tonight was that when we scored, he didn't give up any runs right back," Montreal Manager Felipe Alou said. "That's what happened in Pittsburgh the other day."

Bullinger pitched his first complete game and shutout since May 12, 1996, against the New York Mets. It was the fifth complete game of his career.

Bullinger, who has a career .199 batting average, singled in the second and led off the fifth with an infield single off rookie Jeremi Gonzalez, who gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings.

Pittsburgh 5, Philadelphia 4--Mark Johnson, benched with a .100 average in his last 10 starts, had a game-winning, pinch-hit single in the 10th off Phillie relief ace Ricky at Pittsburgh.

"You're only as good as your last at-bat, I know that," Johnson said. "But I'm going to go up there and do what I did tonight, and that's keep battling. It was a situation where I had to come through--and a situation where I hadn't been coming through."

The Pirates won their sixth in nine games.

The Phillies have lost nine of 11 despite rallying from a big deficit for the second night in a row. Their 20-38 record is the worst in the majors.

Phillie reliever Jerry Spradlin (1-2) started the 10th by walking Kendall, who had three hits and an RBI, bringing on Bottalico.

Kevin Young flied out deep to right, advancing Kendall to second, and Joe Randa was intentionally walked. Johnson, with only two hits in 24 at-bats, worked the count to 3-2 before lining a single down the right-field line.

Bottalico had given up only one other inherited runner to score in his 24 appearances.

Marc Wilkins (5-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for the victory.

The Pirates won despite starting a lineup that included four rookies and a second-year player, Freddy Garcia, with only one career RBI.

Cincinnati 5, New York 2--Pitcher Brett Tomko got his first victory in the major leagues, driving in the Reds' go-ahead run with his first big league hit and pitching six innings at Cincinnati.

Tomko (1-1) held the Mets to one run and four hits in six innings in a steady rain.

"It was a nice night," said Tomko, 24, a second-round draft pick in 1995. "I had family in the stands. I got the first one out of the way. It was very gratifying."

The right-handed pitcher struck out seven, walked two and hit one batter in his second major league appearance.

"His mound presence is tremendous for a young kid," Knight said. "He reminds me of Dwight Gooden. He has a lot of composure and knows what to do out there."

Tomko also doubled off Rick Reed (4-3) to put the Reds ahead 2-1 in the fifth, his first hit and first RBI in four major-league at-bats.

"I don't think I was that bad," Reed said.

Bret Boone had a two-run double and Joe Oliver hit a solo home run and had an RBI single off Reed, who had not given up more than four runs in a game. His earned run average moved up from 1.81 to 2.23.

Atlanta 9, San Francisco 5--Paul Byrd led a Braves' bullpen that gave up one unearned run in the last 6 2/3 innings at San Francisco.

Byrd (3-0) gave up an unearned run on two hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings. He was the first of five Brave relievers to follow starting pitcher Terrell Wade.

Wade failed to hold a 4-0 lead, giving up four runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Michael Tucker's groundout drove in the tying run and Chipper Jones' grounder accounted for the go-ahead run for Atlanta in the sixth.

Tucker had two hits and two RBIs and Javy Lopez had a two-run home run in the ninth off reliever Rene Arocha.

Glenallen Hill hit a two-run home run for San Francisco.

Brave outfielder Ryan Klesko left the game midway through the seventh with a strained right hamstring. He is listed as day-to-day.

Florida at Colorado, ppd.--The game was postponed because of persistent rain and wet grounds and will be made up today as part of a day-night doubleheader.





Player Team Performance Team's Result Ray Lankford St. Louis 2 for 3, 2 home runs, 2 RBIs, 2 runs Won Jason Kendall Pittsburgh 3 for 4, 1 RBI, 2 runs Won Javy Lopez Atlanta 2 for 5, home run, double, 3 RBIs, 1 run Won




Player Team Performance Team's Result Jim Bullinger Montreal Six-hit shutout, 2 strikeouts, 4 walks Won Brett Tomko Cincinnati 6 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 7 strikeouts Won Alan Benes St. Louis 8 innings, 7 hits, 1 runs, 7 strikeouts Won


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