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National League Roundup : Cards Defeat Mets on Herr’s Homer, 1-0

Tommy Herr homered in the ninth inning at New York Saturday to give the St. Louis Cardinals a 1-0 victory over the Mets, reach a career-high in runs batted in and earn extravagant praise from his manager.

Herr’s second home run of the season and only his eighth in more than 2,100 at-bats gave him 50 RBIs and broke up a brilliant pitching battle. St. Louis’ John Tudor and New York’s Ed Lynch baffled the hitters through eight innings. Tudor gave up three hits, Lynch only two.

But Keith Hernandez batted for Lynch in the eighth, and on a 3-and-1 fastball from reliever Tom Gorman, Herr, batting right-handed, drove the ball over the left-field fence.

“Herr is right now the best player in baseball,” Manager Whitey Herzog said. “He is an intelligent ballplayer who has always been underrated. Batting third with jackrabbits Vince Coleman and Willie McGee in front of him, makes him a better hitter.”

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Herr, a lifetime .276 hitter, is having such a good season, that his 1-for-3 game dropped his average a point to .378. His 50 RBIs, tops in the majors, is one more than he drove in last season. The switch-hitting second baseman is doing his most devastating hitting from the right side. He is .455 as a right-hander and a mere .339 from the other side.

Herr says having Jack Clark batting behind him is another reason he is hitting so well.

“The two guys ahead of me are often on base and a threat to steal,” Herr said, “so I see plenty of fastballs. I also see plenty of strikes because they don’t want to put me on ahead of Jack. I don’t hit many home runs, so I remember them all. One of the four I hit last season was off Tom Gorman.”

Tudor (3-7) has been a disappointment to the Cardinals this season. But this was his second win in a row since a friend called from Massachusetts to point out a flaw in the left-hander’s delivery. The friend, watching on the Atlanta “superstation” May 29 when the Braves were handing Tudor his seventh defeat, called to tell Tudor he had stopped coming to a pause at the top of his delivery.

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Since the call Tudor has given up only two earned runs and seven hits in 14 innings.

In handing the Mets their third loss in a row and dropping them out of a tie for first in the East, Tudor struck out five and his only walk was intentional. He retired the first eight batters before Lynch broke the spell with a single. Lynch retired the first 10 Cardinals before McGee singled.

The Mets have only 10 hits in the last 22 innings against Cardinal pitching.

“No one’s having any fun,” Mets Manager Davey Johnson said, “especially our pitchers. It’s obvious we’re not swinging the bats.”

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Cincinnati 7, San Diego 4--Player-Manager Pete Rose decided to stick to managing for this game at Cincinnati, and he enjoyed the experience.

The Reds, beaten in a doubleheader by the Padres, leaders of the West, Friday night, used aggressive baserunning by Gary Redus and a three-run home run by Cesar Cedeno to win this one.

Redus had two singles, stole second each time and was driven in by Dave Parker each time.

The Reds, now 2 1/2 behind the Padres, built a 5-0 lead in four innings and barely lasted. Joe Price went five innings for his second win without a loss.

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Houston 4, San Francisco 1--Nolan Ryan pitched seven shutout innings at Houston, improved his record to 6-3 and widened his lead over Steve Carlton in career strikeouts.

Ryan gave up only three hits, walked one and struck out seven. Ryan started the season just two strikeouts ahead of Carlton. He now has 3,961 to 3,905 for Carlton.

The Astros gave Ryan all the support he needed in the first inning. Bill Doran singled and scored on a double by Craig Reynolds. An infield out and a sacrifice fly brought Reynolds home.

Frank DiPino replaced Ryan in the eighth and gave up the Giants’ run. Jose Uribe, Dan Gladden and Bob Brenly singled to account for the run.

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Chicago 7, Pittsburgh 3--The Cubs brought infielder Chris Speier to camp last spring on a look-see basis and signed him as a utility man.

Speier, playing second base in place of injured Ryne Sandberg, the man Herzog was calling the best in baseball last year, drove in four runs with a single and a home run to help the Cubs take possession of first in the East.

“We signed Chris as insurance and he’s been a big help,” Manager Jim Frey said. “He can play several positions and he came through with the big hits today.”

Steve Trout (6-1) allowed the hapless Pirates eight hits but no runs in seven innings.

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Montreal 4, Philadelphia 3--Andre Dawson homered in the first inning at Philadelphia and the Expos went on to hand the Phillies their fourth loss in a row and their 12th in the last 15.

Bryn Smith (6-2) gave up eight hits in 6 innings and, after Gary Lucas got the final out in the seventh, Jeff Reardon took over. Reardon pitched two scoreless innings to register his major league leading 17th save.

The third win in a row put the Expos into a virtual tie for second in the East with New York.


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