National League Roundup : Pittsburgh Is Certainly No. 1 City on Soto's List

From Times Wire Services

Mario Soto can't lose in Three Rivers Stadium and the team he beat, the Pittsburgh Pirates, have a hard time winning anywhere.

Soto remained unbeaten in Pittsburgh by throwing a six-hitter Sunday as the Cincinnati Reds handed the Pirates their 10th defeat in the last 16 games, 7-1.

Soto (6-3) lost his shutout with two out in the ninth when the Pirates loaded the bases on two infield hits and a walk before Soto walked pinch-hitter Lee Mazzilli to force home a run. "I wasn't tired at the end of the game. I guess I just forgot how to throw a shutout," Soto said after striking out six and walking three. "I was trying very hard to get it."

Soto also drove in a pair of runs with a triple and a single to help the Reds win for the ninth time in 12 games.

The hard-throwing right-hander boosted his career record against the Pirates to 11-3, including 8-0 in Three Rivers Stadium.

"It's probably just luck," Soto said. "Even when the Pirates had those really good-hitting teams, I'd usually come in here and throw a good game."

Cincinnati's player-manager, Pete Rose, said: "Back when the Pirates had all those free swingers, Mario was the perfect pitcher against them. The Pirates aren't exactly like that now. Explaining his success against the Pirates is like trying to explain why (the Mets') Dwight Gooden pitches so well at night."

The Reds ran their record to 5-0 on this road trip with a three-game sweep of the Pirates. Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead against loser Lee Tunnell (0-5) when Dave Concepcion, Tom Foley and Soto hit consecutive singles, and Tunnell walked Dave Parker with the bases loaded.

Concepcion, who broke an 0-for-13 streak with his single, hit a two-run homer to make it 4-0 in the fourth.

Foley singled in the ninth off reliever John Candelaria and Soto tripled. Eric Davis followed with a two-run homer.

Atlanta 3, Chicago 0--Dale Murphy hit his 11th home run, a two-run shot, and Claudell Washington added a solo homer as three Brave pitchers blanked the Cubs at Atlanta.

Murphy, who had a major league record-tying 29 runs batted in during April, has held the NL lead with 10 homers and 32 RBIs since May 1 despite not hitting a homer or driving in a run in his previous 14 games.

Steve Bedrosian (1-2) gave up six hits over 5 innings. Jeff Dedmon yielded one hit in 2 innings and Bruce Sutter pitched the ninth inning to earn his eighth save.

Chicago's Rick Sutcliffe (5-4), who gave up the homer to Murphy in the first inning, was forced to leave the game in the third inning when he pulled a hamstring muscle running to first base to prevent a double play.

Sutcliffe will be examined by a doctor today in Chicago but is expected to miss at least one pitching turn because of the injury.

The Cubs' Davey Lopes had a string of 33 consecutive stolen bases broken when he was thrown out by catcher Bruce Benedict in the first inning. Lopes holds baseball's all-time record with 38 consecutive steals.

San Diego 8, Montreal 3--Undefeated Andy Hawkins went seven innings to get his eighth victory, and Terry Kennedy and Graig Nettles had four hits apiece as the Padres routed the Expos at Montreal.

Hawkins tied Atlanta's Rick Mahler (8-2) for the major league lead in victories. Hawkins gave up three runs on 11 hits and pitched out of frequent trouble. Luis DeLeon went the final two innings for his first save.

Kennedy went 4 for 5, including his fifth home run and a run-scoring double. Nettles was 4 for 4, including the 2,000th hit of his career.

Montreal's Tim Raines hit his first homer of the season in the fifth.

New York 3, San Francisco 2--Howard Johnson's bases-loaded two-run single capped a three-run sixth inning that pushed the Mets past the Giants at New York.

Tom Gorman (3-1) allowed the Giants three hits in six innings and struck out a career-high six batters. Roger McDowell worked three innings to record his second save. Mark Davis (2-2) took the loss.

The Giants took a 2-0 lead in the first when Dan Gladden led off with a walk and Jeff Leonard hit his second homer of the season.

Houston 7, St. Louis 3--Craig Reynolds hit a two-run single to snap a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning as the Astros turned back the Cardinals at Houston.

Rookie Ron Mathis (3-1) worked six innings, allowing three runs and five hits while walking three and striking out three. Bill Dawley pitched the final three innings to record his second save.

Alan Ashby, Enos Cabell and Jim Pankovits hit solo home runs for Houston, and Andy Van Slyke hit a bases-empty homer for the Cardinals.

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