Kevin Young was tired of sitting, of watching, of waiting. Most of all, he was tired of losing.
Young hit a dramatic 10th-inning home run in his first at-bat since Aug. 2, rallying the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates past Montreal, 5-4, Monday night at Pittsburgh after the Expos had tied it with three runs in the ninth.
The Pirates were in danger of falling out of the NL Central race after losing five of six and 14 of 19, only to climb back to within 3 1/2 games as division-leading Houston lost to San Diego.
The Pirates and Astros meet five more times.
Young's homer came a day after he erupted in a stormy clubhouse following a ninth-inning loss to the Cubs, challenging his tensed-up teammates to get back into the race. He had been sidelined for more than a month because of an injured thumb and wasn't expected to resume hitting until today.
But Young, inserted as a defensive replacement in the eighth, hit the first pitch from Anthony Telford (4-6) over the right-field wall for his team-leading 17th homer.
"I've probably had only 50 swings in six weeks," Young said "They told me I wouldn't be healthy again until November, and I said, 'I can't wait that long.' I just want to do something. I've got to play."
Young's blowup was uncharacteristic for a close-knit, overachieving team that has played much better than expected all year. It admittedly upset some of his teammates but, he hopes, it also may have awakened some others.
"It may have been borderline unprofessional, but that's just me. That's the way I am," Young said. "Sometimes, as a player, you see things the manager or coaches don't. If it brought some emotion back into the clubhouse, that's all I can hope."
San Diego 4, Houston 3--Reliever Jim Bruske escaped a seventh-inning jam and the Padres held off the Astros at Houston.
Houston trailed, 4-1, entering the seventh, but loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. After an infield single by pinch-hitter Tony Eusebio scored a run, Bruske relieved.
Pinch-hitter Bill Spiers hit a single that made it 4-3 and kept the bases loaded. Bruske, however, retired pinch-hitter Thomas Howard on a popup and struck out Ricky Gutierrez.
Colorado 7, Florida 1--Larry Walker hit his league-leading 44th home run and Andres Galarraga followed with his 37th homer as the Rockies broke away in the seventh inning and beat the Marlins at Miami.
The Rockies, who began the day five games behind both the Dodgers and the Giants in the NL West, won their fifth in a row and 16th in 18 games.
Tied at 1-1 in the seventh, Walker homered the opposite way to right field off Alex Fernandez (17-11).
Two pitches later, Galarraga, the NL RBIs leader with 130, hit an estimated 450-foot homer into the upper deck. In Galarraga's last visit to Pro Player Stadium on May 31, he hit a 529-foot grand slam.
New York 10-1, Philadelphia 5-2--Darrin Winston, a 31-year-old rookie making his first major league start, gave up only one hit in seven innings as the Phillies split a doubleheader at Philadelphia.
The Mets won the opener 10-5 behind Bernard Gilkey and Butch Huskey, who both hit two home runs and then each added RBI singles in the 10th inning.
The split left New York five games behind Florida in the wild-card race. The Marlins lost to Colorado 7-1.
Cincinnati 4, Chicago 1--Eduardo Perz hit a solo home run and an RBI single as the Reds officially eliminated the Cubs at Chicago.
Perez, who was 0-for-8 against the Cubs this season prior to Monday's game, hit an RBI single in the third inning and his 16th homer in the seventh as the Reds won their fourth game in their last five.
Braves pitcher Denny Neagle, the NL's only 20-game winner and a top candidate for the Cy Young award, has a partially torn rotator cuff in his non-pitching shoulder. Neagle said Monday night that he may miss a start, but he has no intention of missing the postseason. "It's something we'll correct [with surgery] after the last game of the World Series," said Neagle, who is 20-3 with a 2.67 ERA. He apparently sustained the injury in his right shoulder during his first appearance of spring training, though he wasn't sure how it happened. Since then, he has taken several cortisone shots in an effort to relieve the pain, which intensified after his last start Saturday night. Neagle underwent an MRI that revealed a partial tear in the rotator cuff, bursitis and a minor bone bruise. He will attempt to pitch through the injury, but it could hamper his effectiveness. "It affects my location," he admitted. "There's a lot more strain on other parts of the body." Neagle said he may miss his next start, scheduled for Thursday against the New York Mets.
Cub catcher Tyler Houston's two-game suspension for fighting has been reduced to one game by the National League. Houston will serve his suspension today. Houston was suspended along with San Francisco's Jeff Kent and fined an undisclosed amount for fighting in the Cubs-Giants game Aug. 13.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
BESTS OF THE DAY
Player Team Performance Team's Result A. Galarraga Colorado 450-foot home run Win Kevin Young Pittsburgh Game-winning homer Win Fred McGriff Atlanta Game-winning homer Win
Player Team Performance Team's Result Darrin Winston Philadelphia 7 innings, 1 hit in 2nd game of doubleheader Win Jim Bruske San Diego Escaped 7th-inning bases-loaded jam Win Mike Morgan Cincinnati 7 innings, 1 run, 5 hit Win