National League Roundup : Giants’ Hopes Get a Boost
The San Francisco Giants, entrenched in the basement of the National League West, are beginning to play like they want to move out of the cellar.
After taking a doubleheader from the division-leading San Diego Padres Sunday, the Giants made it three wins in a row, shutting out the Cincinnati Reds, 4-0, at Candlestick Park Monday.
But more significant than the modest streak was the impressive performance of pitcher Atlee Hammaker, who is coming back from shoulder surgery. The left-hander, limited to six starts last year, stymied the Reds on four hits and struck out six for his first complete game since July 21, 1983. The shutout was also the first for Hammaker (3-6) since June 26, 1983, and was the first thrown by the Giants’ staff since Hammaker and Scott Garrelts collaborated on a 1-0, 12-inning victory over the Chicago Cubs May 9.
“I had been taking a lot of solace in just being able to pitch,” Hammaker said, “but it means a lot more to me to be able to shut somebody out and go the distance.
“It’s been a long time. I didn’t have much of a breaking ball until the last two innings, but I had a good fastball early and my sinker was moving well.”
Reds veteran Dave Concepcion, who had a 17-game hitting streak snapped, agreed.
“Give Hammaker all the credit,” he said. “He kept throwing sinkers away and I didn’t hit anything good.”
The Giants scored one run in the first, added two in the fifth and Jeff Leonard topped off the scoring in the sixth when he hit his fifth homer of the season.
Houston 4, Atlanta 3--At Atlanta, the Astros’ Nolan Ryan moved within 26 strikeouts of 4,000 and thanks to battery mate Alan Ashby picked up his 239th career victory.
Ryan (8-3) was not overpowering, surrendering nine hits in 6 innings, but he did manage to strike out eight batters. He has 100 strikeouts this season, 3,974 in his career.
Ryan also benefitted from the excellent relief work of Dave Smith who came on to get his 11th save. Smith retired every batter he faced.
In addition, Ashby had three hits and drove in the winning run with a double in the sixth.
New York 2, Chicago 0--Ron Darling, who hasn’t lost since May 1, threw a five-hitter to put an end to the Mets’ four-game losing streak.
Darling’s second shutout and third complete game of the season, which lowered his earned run average to 2.29, also extended the staggering Cubs’ losing streak to six games, their longest since July, 1983.
Darling (6-1) outdueled Chicago’s Rick Sutcliffe (6-6) who surrendered a fourth-inning homer to Gary Carter, his ninth of the season. Sutcliffe, last year’s Cy Young award winner, lost his third decision in four starts. However, in that time, the Cubs haven’t scored a run.
Before the game, Sutcliffe had been quoted in New York papers as saying that none of the Mets, with the exception of pitcher Dwight Gooden, could find a spot in Chicago.
Being thought of as inferior to the Cubs’ Jody Davis, motivated Carter, a perennial all-star, to an extent but he saw no reason to take personal offense.
“It makes you bear down more,” Carter said. “Any comment like that has got to fire you up. . . . (but) they are trying to keep together as a team as well, and he (Davis) has probably done a great job for Rick Sutcliffe.”
Pittsburgh 5, Montreal 2--Tony Pena drove in three runs with a two-run home run and a single to lead the Pirates, winners of three of their last 11 games, past the Expos at Montreal.
The defeat snapped the first-place Expos’ winning streak at five.
Pirates’ starter Jim Winn (2-1), pitched five innings before leaving the game with a swollen left wrist after being struck by a ball hit by Terry Francona. Don Robinson pitched the final four innings to record his second save.