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National League Roundup : Ryan, a Career .122 Hitter, Gets First Game-Winner

From Times Wire Services

For Nolan Ryan, Wednesday proved to be a pretty routine day on the mound. He allowed six hits, three walks and one unearned run before leaving after 7 innings.

Ryan’s day at the plate, however, was anything but routine. For the first time in his 19-year career, he collected the game-winning hit.

The 39-year-old pitcher, who has a .122 career batting average, lined a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the second inning to pace the Houston Astros to a 4-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park.

“I didn’t realize that was it,” Ryan said of his game-winning RBI. “A big RBI man like me, that’s pretty surprising.”

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Second-year Giant pitcher Roger Mason said he gave Ryan a “way too fat” fastball over the middle of the plate on the first pitch and Ryan punched it left.

“It was a mistake pitch on his part,” said Ryan (2-1). “A pitcher needs to take advantage of every opportunity that arises.”

His own hit was all Ryan needed. Reliever Dave Smith came on in the eighth to record his league-leading third save with one-hit pitching the rest of the way.

The Giants scored an unearned run off Ryan after a walk and an error in the eighth as second baseman Bill Doran lost Bob Brenly’s RBI pop fly single in the first bright sunshine of the day.

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Cincinnati 5, Atlanta 3--Dave Concepcion, taking advantage of extra batting practice 5 1/2 hours before the game, homered twice and drove in three runs to spark the Reds to the win at Atlanta.

Concepcion’s first homer came on the first pitch from Rick Mahler in the seventh inning. Concepcion then hit the first pitch from Bruce Sutter for his home run in the eighth.

“I was getting lazy, losing my stroke,” Concepcion said of the extra hitting. “That really worked.”

The two homers gave Concepcion 99 for his career, including 22 against the Braves.

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