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Mets Not Quite Ready to Have Ticket Punched

September 21, 1997|From Associated Press

The Florida Marlins began selling playoff tickets Saturday, but the New York Mets remained in the National League wild-card race--barely.

Brian McRae hit a first-inning grand slam and Bernard Gilkey went three for four with two RBIs to help New York avert elimination by beating Florida, 7-3, at Miami.

"We're not focusing on the past or what could happen tomorrow," Gilkey said. "We just took care of today."

The Marlins' magic number to clinch their first postseason berth dropped to two when the Dodgers lost to the Colorado Rockies, 2-1. The Marlins lead the Dodgers by 6 1/2 games in the wild-card race.

New York, 7 1/2 games behind Florida and one defeat from elimination, broke a season-high five-game losing streak.

Marlin catcher Charles Johnson played his 118th consecutive errorless game, breaking the one-season major-league record set by Buddy Rosar of the Philadelphia A's in 1946.

Philadelphia 3, Chicago 2--Ryne Sandberg day was a disaster for the retiring Cubs' star.

Honored before the game, Sandberg went hitless in four at-bats and misplayed a grounder that allowed the go-ahead run to score in a three-run ninth inning.

With the bases loaded, Tony Barron hit a chopper to Sandberg, but he waited back, let the ball bounce in front of him and it popped out of his glove as Rico Brogna scored the lead run.

Atlanta 3, Montreal 1--Tom Glavine, who hasn't lost to the Expos in nearly five years, pitched a two-hitter as the Braves lowered their magic number for winning the NL East to two at Atlanta.

Glavine (14-7) walked three and struck out six in improving to 11-0 with three no-decisions against the Expos since he lost to them Aug. 25, 1992.

Pittsburgh 10, St. Louis 1--The Pirates kept Mark McGwire in the ballpark and stayed on the fringe of the NL Central race behind Esteban Loaiza's complete-game performance at Pittsburgh.

McGwire, who hit his major-league leading 54th homer Friday, was hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts.

McGwire needs seven homers in the Cardinals' final eight games to tie Roger Maris' record of 61 homers.

Pittsburgh stayed 3 1/2 games behind Houston in the NL Central as the Astros reduced their magic number for clinching to five with a victory over Cincinnati. The Pirates (75-80) have seven games left and the Astros (78-76) have eight.

Loaiza (11-10) gave up six hits, struck out seven and walked one.

Houston 4, Cincinnati 1--Jeff Bagwell hit his 42nd homer and Mike Hampton pitched eight-plus innings at Cincinnati to give the Astros their first win in three games.

Bagwell's homer added to his club record and gave him three in the last five games. He has hit safely in his last seven games, going nine for 22.

Hampton (14-10) gave up five hits, with eight strikeouts and one walk. He is 11-3 since July 2.

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