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BASEBALL EXTRA | ROUNDUP

Baerga Looks Better Against Braves

June 25, 1997|From Associated Press

Carlos Baerga has had some big moments in baseball, played in some big games, most of them for Cleveland before he was exiled to New York in a trade last season.

Now, he finds himself with big moments in big games again, surprisingly for the Mets. He hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning Tuesday night before singling in the winning run in the ninth for a 6-5 victory over Atlanta at New York.

As he rounded first base with a ninth-inning hit, Baerga said he got chills.

"I think it's one of the best feelings I've ever had in my career," he said.

Baerga's heroics gave New York, which has won six in a row, the first two games of the three-game series and brought the Mets within four games of first-place Atlanta in the NL East.

He was probably due against Atlanta, after making the final out in three losses to the Braves in the 1995 World Series when he was with Cleveland.

"It was a nice night for me," he said. "They had my number in the World Series."

And it was another nice night in what has become a nice season for the Mets. New York is 11 games over .500 for the first time since July 30, 1991.

Todd Hundley reached on a one-out walk in the ninth inning off Mark Wohlers (2-3) and Carl Everett singled to right field to send Hundley to third.

With the Shea Stadium crowd chanting, "Car-los, Car-los," Everett took second base on catcher's indifference and Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox elected to let Wohlers pitch to Baerga.

Baerga, who was 0 for 5 in his career against Wohlers, including two fruitless at-bats in the World Series, fouled off a 1-and-2 slider before slapping his single to left.

St. Louis 7, Chicago 2--Andy Benes gave up only four hits in seven innings for his 100th lifetime victory and Ron Gant broke out of a slump with three hits and three RBIs for the Cardinals in their victory at St. Louis.

The Cardinals have won three of four games. The Cubs have lost six of seven and have been outscored, 32-15, in that stretch.

It took Benes (6-3) three tries to get the milestone victory, and he left little to chance. Chicago didn't have a hit until Dave Hansen singled through shortstop to start the fifth inning, and no Cub made it past first base until the seventh.

Benes struck out seven but struggled in his final inning, giving up two hits. The Cubs broke the shutout when third baseman Gary Gaetti pulled first baseman Dmitri Young off the bag on a grounder by Shawon Dunston, allowing Mark Grace to score from third.

Brant Brown's single drove in the second Chicago run.

Gant, in the second year of a five-year, $25-million deal, was three for 39 and batting .217 before going three for five with a two-run triple off Terry Mulholland (5-8) in the fourth inning and a run-scoring single in the seventh.

Florida 4, Philadelphia 1--Al Leiter gave up only one run in six innings and Jim Eisenreich and Gary Sheffield each drove in a run for the Marlins in their victory at Philadelphia.

Leiter (7-5) surrendered only four hits, struck out seven and walked five in six innings to hand the Phillies their ninth loss in 10 games. Robb Nen worked the ninth for his 20th save.

Philadelphia starter Scott Ruffcorn (0-2) gave up two hits in 4 1/3 innings, but walked 10. In 19 1/3 innings this season, Ruffcorn has walked 28.

Eisenreich doubled in Florida's first run, in the third inning, and Sheffield's groundout made it 2-0.

Pittsburgh 8, Houston 3--Jon Lieber pitched seven strong innings and Al Martin and Kevin Young hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning for the Pirates, who moved within 1 1/2 games of the Central Division-leading Astros by winning at Houston.

Lieber (4-8) beat the Astros for the first time since July 14, 1994. He struck out five, walked five and held Houston scoreless after the second inning.

Every Pirate starter had at least one hit, and the Astros, who have scored three runs in their last 23 innings, managed only five hits to give them seven in their last two games.

The Astros cut the Pittsburgh lead to 3-1 in the second inning when Luis Gonzalez scored on a double-play grounder.

Run-scoring singles by Kevin Polcovich, Lieber and Jermaine Allensworth in the fourth inning increased their lead to 6-1.

Cincinnati 7, Montreal 6--Lenny Harris, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, singled home the winning run in the 10th for the Reds, who ended a three-game losing streak by winning at Montreal.

Eduardo Perez homered, drove in three runs and had four hits for Cincinnati.

With the score tied, 6-6, Perez led off the Red 10th inning with a single and was bunted to second base. Deion Sanders was intentionally walked and Harris then singled to right.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

BATTING

Player: Eduardo Perez

Team: Cincinnati

Performance: 4 for 5, 3-run homer

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Carlos Baerga

Team: New York

Performance: 3 for 4, 2-run HR, game-winning single

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Ellis Burks

Team: Colorado

Performance: 3 for 5, 2 RBI

Team's Result: Win

PITCHING

Player: Andy Benes

Team: St. Louis

Performance: 7 innings, 1 run, 7 strikeouts, 100th win

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Shawn Estes

Team: San Francisco

Performance: 8 innings, 7 hits, 1 run

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Darren Holmes

Team: Colorado

Performance: 8 innings, retired 16 of last 18

Team's Result: Win

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