Andre Dawson had four singles and Rick Sutcliffe pitched six strong innings in a 9-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that gave the Cubs a 7-9 record in Chicago.
The Cubs, whose 16-5 road record is the best in the majors, have won five in a row, four of them on the road, and are in first place in the East.
The play of Dawson and the pitching of Sutcliffe are the main reasons the Cubs are talking about winning the East. But a losing record at home could kill their hopes.
Sutcliffe is 3-2 at home and 4-0 on the road, the first pitcher to win seven games.
Sutcliffe turned the Cubs around in 1984, when they finally won a division title. The 6-foot 7-inch right-hander was obtained from the Cleveland Indians on June 13, and he was almost unbeatable (16-1) the rest of the season.
In 1984, Sutcliffe threw hard and had excellent control. He struck out more than a batter an inning and walked about two batters per nine innings.
Now, he has lost his fastball and his control is mediocre. All he does is win.
Manager Gene Michael says Sutcliffe has become a master pitcher, a man in complete control. It has been said before of pitchers who lose their fastball.
Tuesday was a good example of the way Sutcliffe, 5-14 a year ago and suffering arm and shoulder problems, pitches these days. Through six innings, he was pitching a four-hitter and breezing, 9-1.
After he gave up a double and walked two batters to open the seventh, Ed Lynch came on to retire the last nine batters.
Sutcliffe has walked 33 batters in 58 innings and has only one complete game in nine starts.
"I didn't like the way I finished, " Sutcliffe said. "I wouldn't have minded if they had gotten three hits. But with a 9-1 lead, there's no excuse for walking guys."
The game was held up in the bottom of the sixth when the Reds walked off the field after fans in the bleachers threw beer mugs onto the field.
San Francisco 6, Montreal 2--Jeffrey Leonard hit home runs in his first two times at bat and drove in three runs at Montreal to help lift the Giants into first place in the West.
The Giants jumped on Floyd Youmans, just off the disabled list, for seven hits and six runs in 3 innings. Mike LaCoss (4-1) gave up nine hits before needing help in the eighth.
Youmans (1-3) was out 15 days because of a strained back.
Atlanta 6, St. Louis 5--Todd Worrell hasn't yet regained the form that made him the league's best relief pitcher last season.
Worrell, who had three good outings in the last week, gave up the tying runs in the eighth, then lost it when Ted Simmons singled home Dion James from second with one out in the bottom of the ninth at Atlanta.
Rookie Joe Magrane of the Cardinals, seeking his fourth win without a defeat, gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings.
New York 5, San Diego 4--Howard Johnson's sacrifice fly in the seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie at New York.
Keith Hernandez, who doubled in a run and scored another in a three-run third inning, opened the winning rally with a single and scored the winning run.
Carmelo Martinez hit a three-run home run off John Mitchell in the fifth to tie the game.
Roger McDowell, working out of a jam in the ninth, gained his first victory. Eric Show (1-5) lost his fifth in a row.
Pittsburgh 5, Houston 2--Shortstop Dickie Thon dropped a ball at second base in the seventh inning at Pittsburgh and it helped the Pirates break a 2-2 tie.
With the bases loaded and one out in the seventh, Bobby Bonilla grounded to second. It would have been a forceout, but Thon dropped Bill Doran's throw. The run scored and another came home on Johnny Ray's sacrifice fly.
The game was delayed almost 90 minutes by rain in the fifth inning.