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BASEBALL EXTRA | ROUNDUP

Dunston Checks In, Indians Miss Out

September 03, 1997|From Associated Press

The Pirates beat the Indians by a foot--the one Omar Vizquel didn't get on home plate.

Vizquel committed a bases-loaded blunder in the first inning and the Pirates got two homers and four runs batted in from Shawon Dunston in his Pittsburgh debut to beat Cleveland, 6-4, Tuesday night at Pittsburgh.

The Pirates, losers of five of their previous six, closed to within 1 1/2 games of the NL Central lead as Houston lost its sixth in a row, 4-2, to Milwaukee. The Brewers trail Cleveland by 2 1/2 games in the AL Central.

Cleveland, which scored four runs in the first inning Monday in a 7-5 victory, loaded the bases with none out in the first on singles by Vizquel and Kevin Seitzer and Manny Ramirez's walk against rookie Jose Silva, who had given up eight runs in the first inning of his previous two starts.

Matt Williams then lifted a fly ball to medium-range left field, and Vizquel easily beat Al Martin's throw standing up. But when umpire Wally Bell did not make a call, catcher Keith Osik ran nearly to the backstop to tag out Vizquel, who had dragged his foot near the top of the plate.

"We had the bases loaded, nobody out, and Omar didn't step on the plate. He said he did and I have to believe him, but he's got to be more sure than that," Indian Manager Mike Hargrove said. "That hurt, it hurt a lot."

Osik said Vizquel's foot came down on his, and he reacted instinctively by tagging the runner when he didn't see a call.

Vizquel couldn't believe the call.

"I know I did touch the plate. His foot was there and I was over it, that's why he [Bell] said I didn't touch it," Vizquel said. "I guess it was kind of dumb anyway. I should have slid to make sure. You always want to make sure."

Silva went on to walk David Justice, but Sandy Alomar grounded into a forceout as the Indians failed to score despite loading the bases twice.

Dunston, acquired after the Pirates lost two other shortstops to injury, hit a tying solo shot in the second inning and a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth--his fifth consecutive two-hit game. He was eight for 20 in his final four games for Chicago before being traded Sunday night.

Milwaukee 4, Houston 2--Gerald Williams drove in the go-ahead run with a ninth-inning sacrifice fly at Houston.

The Astros have scored only 13 runs during their six-game skid.

St. Louis 6, Chicago White Sox 1--Mark McGwire hit his fourth 500-foot home run of the year, Ron Gant homered twice and Andy Benes pitched seven shutout innings at St. Louis.

McGwire's 44th home run, and 10th in 28 games with the Cardinals, was a 504-foot, two-run shot off the scoreboard in left-center against Jaime Navarro (9-13). The homer, which highlighted a four-run first inning, was the longest at Busch Stadium since the team began estimating distances in 1988.

Two batters after McGwire's home run, Gant hit a 398-foot homer over the left-field wall--his first since July 19. In the seventh he hit a 481-foot homer off the Stadium Club in left field against Michael Sirotka, who had thrown four shutout innings.

Benes (10-7) allowed six hits and one run with five strikeouts and no walks.

All four of McGwire's 500-footers have come this year, two with the Cardinals and two with the Oakland Athletics, who traded him to St. Louis on July 31. His previous best was 488 feet at Toronto on July 25, 1996, although the Athletics didn't began measuring home runs until 1992 and his career there began in 1987.

McGwire's 538-footer against Randy Johnson at Seattle on June 24 is the longest in the major leagues this season. He hit a 514-footer at Detroit in April and a 500-foot shot at Miami on Aug. 22.

Philadelphia 5, New York Yankees 0--Mike Grace, who got his first major league win in 15 months last week, pitched a three-hitter at Philadelphia for his second career shutout.

Grace (2-0) gave up a fourth-inning single to Derek Jeter, who was thrown out stealing, an eighth-inning single to Paul O'Neill, and a leadoff single to Charlie Hayes in the ninth.

Grace, who faced the minimum 27 batters, had one strikeout and no walks.

The Yankees have lost five of six.

Chicago Cubs 9, Minnesota 3--Tyler Houston drove in three runs as the Cubs beat the Twins at Chicago.

Sammy Sosa hit his 32nd homer in the sixth for the Cubs, now 8-6 in interleague play. Houston hit an RBI single in the second, another in the third and a run-scoring double in the fourth.

Mark Clark (11-7), 3-0 since he was acquired Aug. 11 in a six-player deal with the New York Mets, gave up eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts in his second complete game.

Cincinnati 4, Kansas City 0-- Dave Burba pitched five scoreless innings and Reggie Sanders doubled in two runs as the Reds ended a three-game losing streak at Cincinnati.

Burba (7-10), activated last Wednesday after spending half of August on the disabled list with a back injury, gave up six hits in five innings to register his first win since July 16.

Pete Rose Jr. pinch-hit for Burba in the fifth and struck out on four pitches.

Pete Sr., who also attended his son's debut on Monday, watched the game from owner Marge Schott's private box.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

BATTING

*--*

Player Team Performance Team's Result S. Dunston Pittsburgh 2 for 4, 2 homers, 2 runs, 4 RBIs Win Henry Rodriguez Montreal 3 for 4, 2 homers, 2 runs, 3 RBIs Win Ron Gant St. Louis 2 for 3, 2 homers Win

*--*

PITCHING

*--*

Player Team Performance Team's Result Denny Neagle Atlanta 9 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits; 3rd career home run Win Andy Benes St. Louis 7 innings, 1 runs, 6 hits, 5 strikeouts Win Mike Grace Philadelphia 9 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits Win

*--*

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