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BASEBALL EXTRA | ROUNDUP

Giants Finally Close Door on Astros

September 07, 1997|From Associated Press

Most ballclubs are lucky if they have one solid closer. The San Francisco Giants have two.

Roberto Hernandez struck out Jeff Bagwell and Derek Bell with the tying runs on base in the ninth inning to bail out Rod Beck and preserve the Giants' 5-3 victory Saturday over the Houston Astros at San Francisco.

A throwing error by Jeff Bagwell, who earlier hit his 38th homer, gave the Giants the go-ahead run as they scored four times in the eighth inning.

Hernandez, the winner Friday night, earned his second save since joining the Giants in a July 31 trade with the White Sox. He had 27 saves for Chicago.

Giant Manager Dusty Baker said Beck, tied for the NL lead with 35 saves, remains the closer despite some rough outings recently.

"It's just a very fortunate situation that we have two closers now," he said. "If one is not doing it, we can go to the other one and we did that today. Beck's my closer."

Giant starter Wilson Alvarez tied a career high with 12 strikeouts.

The Giants remained two games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

St. Louis 10-6, Colorado 7-7--Vinny Castilla drove in Andres Galarraga with a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning of the second game to give the Rockies a split of the day-night doubleheader.

Willie McGee's sacrifice fly and pinch-hitter Tom Pagnozzi's two-run double in the 13th inning led the Cardinals to victory in the first game, snapping the Rockies' nine-game winning streak.

That also allowed Dennis Eckersley, with the help of a blown save, to get his first NL win in more than 11 years. Also, Delino DeShields went 4 for 6 and Mark McGwire hit another long home run for the Cardinals.

In the second game, Galarraga singled to open the ninth inning. Pitcher Darren Holmes sacrificed Galarraga to second and Castilla followed by hitting the first pitch to center for a single.

Colorado also had its major-league record consecutive sellout streak halted at 203 when the second game drew only 44,288. The last time the Rockies failed to sell out Coors Field was June 12, 1995.

Pittsburgh 13, Cincinnati 4--Shawon Dunston homered and drove in three runs, extending his remarkable start as a Pirate, and Tony Womack had four hits and four steals at Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh won for only the fourth time in 13 games, a slump that cost them a chance to catch first-place Houston in the NL Central. Dunston and Womack revived a slumping offense that had been a major factor in the slide.

Dunston, acquired from the Chicago Cubs last Sunday, had a sacrifice fly, a solo home run and an RBI single as the Pirates pulled ahead, 6-0. He is 9 for 20 with four homers and nine RBIs in five games since the trade.

Dunston left the game in the eighth inning because of back spasms.

Womack had a perfect day at the top of the lineup, reaching base in all six appearances. He matched his career high with four hits, walked twice, scored three runs, drove in another and tied a club record with four steals, last done by Omar Moreno in 1980.

Now that NL stolen base leader Deion Sanders has gone full-time to football, Womack has a chance to take over the lead. He is at 51, five behind Sanders.

Chicago 7, New York 5--Scott Servais hit a three-run homer and Ryne Sandberg added a solo shot in a five-run eighth-inning rally at Chicago that powered the Cubs to their fourth consecutive victory.

With the Cubs trailing, 4-2, in the eighth, Sandberg hit his 11th home run leading off against former Cub Mel Rojas. Doug Glanville singled and Mark Grace greeted John Franco with a double to tie the score.

Sammy Sosa was intentionally walked and Kevin Orie hit into a fielder's choice, forcing Grace at third. Servais then hit his sixth homer, only the third off Franco this year, to put Chicago ahead, 7-4.

Butch Huskey hit his fourth home run in his last six games.

Philadelphia 5, Montreal 3--The Phillies won for the fifth time in six games and Curt Schilling pitched an eight-hitter and struck out 10 at Montreal.

Schilling (15-10) leads the major leagues with 290 strikeouts, the second-highest total in team history. He eclipsed Steve Carlton's total of 286, accomplished in 1980 and '82, and is 20 shy of Carlton's club record of 310, set in 1972.

Schilling also needs 10 strikeouts to become the first NL pitcher to strike out 300 since Houston's Mike Scott in 1986.

The right-hander, who walked one, hasn't lost since July 26 at Dodger Stadium and is 4-0 with a 1.56 earned-run average in his last eight starts. Schilling, who threw a four-hit shutout in his last start against the Expos, is 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA in eight games at Olympic Stadium.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

BATTING

Player: Tony Womack

Team: Pittsburgh

Performance: 4 for 4, 2 walks, 4 steals, 3 runs

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: D. DeShields

Team: St. Louis

Performance: First game: 4 for 7, 2 runs

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Cliff Floyd

Team: Florida

Performance: Two 2-run home runs, 4 RBIs

Team's Result: Loss

PITCHING

Player: Curt Schilling

Team: Philadelphia

Performance: 9 innings, 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 3 runs

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Wilson Alvarez

Team: San Francisco

Performance: 6 2/3 innings, 12 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Greg Maddux

Team: Atlanta

Performance: 7 innings, 4 hits (all singles), 0 walks

Team's Result: Win

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