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Pirates Show Power, McGwire Doesn't

September 22, 1997|From Associated Press

It may be too late for the Pittsburgh Pirates to catch the Houston Astros--and, after one more homerless day, too late for Mark McGwire to catch Roger Maris.

Jose Guillen and Turner Ward homered as the Pirates romped over a hitless McGwire and the St. Louis Cardinals for the second day in a row, winning, 14-2, Sunday at Pittsburgh.

The Pirates remain 3 1/2 games behind Houston in the NL Central with a week to play. The Astros won in Cincinnati to reduce their magic number to four and officially eliminate the 1996 division champion Cardinals.

"We won 88 last year, and I thought we'd improve on that," said Cardinal Manager Tony La Russa, whose team has won 71 games with seven to play. "I've been wrong before, and add this to the list. I'm not saying we should have won 89 . . . but we should have won more."

The Pirates won, 10-1, on Saturday, giving them three one-sided victories in their last four games. They beat Houston, 12-3, Thursday to highlight a week in which one of the NL's worst power-hitting teams hit 14 homers in seven games.

The Pirates' power surge did not spill over into the Cardinal dugout. McGwire, who leads the majors with 54 home runs, went hitless for the second game in a row--he was hitless in three at-bats with a sacrifice fly--and is one for 12 with one homer in the series.

Montreal 7, Atlanta 1--The Braves' sixth consecutive division title was put on hold as the Expos' Rondell White hit two of his team's four home runs at Atlanta.

"It's nice to put on a show for my family and friends," said White, who also had a single, scored three runs and drove in three before a contingent of 70 from his hometown of Gray, located about 80 miles southeast of Atlanta. "It's special to play here."

Hensley Meulens and David Segui also homered for the Expos, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the first time in nine games in Atlanta.

The Braves, who had a six-game winning streak ended, could have clinched the NL East with a win along with a Florida loss.

Neagle (20-4) retired the first 12 Expos but got chased in the sixth inning. Neagle had won four in a row but gave up six runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in this one.

New York 2, Florida 1--The Mets prevented the Marlins from clinching at least a tie for its first playoff spot, beating then at Miami behind starter Rick Reed's strong 8 2/3 innings.

Rookie Jason Hardtke hit his second homer for the Mets, who remained one loss from playoff elimination.

The game disappointed a sellout crowd of 44,176, the largest for the Marlins at home since July 3, 1994, when they played Atlanta.

Reed (13-9) took a three-hit shutout into the ninth before Bobby Bonilla singled with two outs and Darren Daulton hit an RBI double.

Mel Rojas relieved for his first save for the Mets, and 14th overall this season.

Chicago 11, Philadelphia 3--Curt Schilling increased his strikeout total to 313, tying the NL record for right-handers and setting the Phillie overall mark in this loss at Chicago.

Schilling (16-11) struck out eight in five innings, breaking the Phillie record of 310 strikeouts set by Steve Carlton in 1972.

Schilling matched J.R. Richard's league record for strikeouts by a right-hander, set in 1979 for Houston. Nolan Ryan set the major league record--for right-handers and overall--with 383 in 1973 for the Angels.

The Phillie ace is expected to get one more start this season, next weekend against Florida.

The Cubs tagged Schilling for three home runs in the fifth inning. Lance Johnson and Mark Grace each hit two-run shots and Dave Hansen added a solo shot.

Kevin Tapani (8-3), who threw a one-hitter in his last start Sept. 16 against Cincinnati, gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings, striking out eight. He earned his 100th career victory.

The Cubs' Ryne Sandberg, playing in his final game at Wrigley Field, went two for three.

Houston 8, Cincinnati 3--The Astros closed in on an NL Central title by beating the Reds at Cincinnati.

Only Pittsburgh has a mathematical chance of catching the Reds, as both Cincinnati and St. Louis were eliminated Sunday.

Two consecutive victories over Cincinnati reduced the Astros' clinching number to four heading into the final week. Even if the Pirates win the rest of their games, the Astros would clinch their first title since 1986 by merely going 4-3.

"It probably looks a little more insecure than it does to everyone else," Manager Larry Dierker said. "Anything can happen in a week. We're playing pretty well. We're winning enough to keep the Pirates at bay, but they're starting to win now, too."

Pittsburgh has won five of its last seven to keep the pressure on.





Player Team Performance Team's Result Damion Easley Detroit 2 for 5, two homers, Win career-high six RBIs Jay Buhner Seattle 2 for 5, two homers, Win three RBIs Paul Molitor Minnesota 3 for 5, game-winning Win RBI triple in 10th




Player Team Performance Team's Result J. Thompson Detroit 6 innings, 3 hits, Win 3 runs, 7 strikeouts Brad Radke Minnesota 10 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, Win 9 strikeouts, 0 walks Kevin Appier Kansas City 7 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, Win 10 strikeouts, 1 walk


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