It took a weird play in the ninth inning Friday night at Pittsburgh for the Pirates to extend their winning streak to four games, but there are only two teams in the majors with a better record than the Pirates' 23-11.
Barry Bonds, who opened a game for the second night in a row with a home run, also singled to open the ninth and then scored the run that gave the Pirates a 6-5 victory over the faltering Cincinnati Reds.
Jose Lind followed Bonds' single with a bunt. First baseman Dave Collins fielded the ball to the left of the pitcher's mound, wheeled and threw the ball into center field. It was too hot for center fielder Eric Davis to handle, and Bonds raced home from first base with the winning run.
"I've never seen a play like that ever before, anywhere," said Bonds, who also doubled and scored three runs. "I didn't know I could score until I saw (third base coach) Gene Lamont waving me home. It was a weird play, but we'll take it."
The Pirates had to bounce back from a 5-2 deficit. Doug Drabek, who had a no-hitter going into the ninth in his previous outing, gave up all five Red runs and was gone after six innings.
A homer by Davis made it 5-2 in the fifth, but the Pirates got a run back in the bottom of the inning and tied it in the sixth when Sid Bream hit a two-run home run, the first pinch homer of his career. When he stepped in against Jose Rijo, Bream was 0 for 13.
"The Pirates are on a roll," said Tommy Helms, acting Red manager while Pete Rose sits out his suspension, "and things can happen. But this was just bad baseball. We embarrassed ourselves. I'll never complain on a bad throw. It can happen to anybody. But you've got to play fundamental baseball, and we didn't."
The victory gave the Pirates a 14-3 record at home, the best in the majors.
Houston 8, Chicago 2--Nolan Ryan struck out 11 and pitched his first complete game in more than two years in this game at Houston.
Ryan, who gave up seven hits, injured his elbow two years ago. At first, it was feared that he would never pitch again. He made it back but was never allowed to go the distance last season.
Ryan (3-2) proved his arm was sound early this season with some strong performances. His 11 strikeouts gave him 66 in 57 innings so far in 1988. Not bad for a 41-year-old athlete who has thrown more pitches than any other pitcher in history.
Glenn Davis made it an easy victory for Ryan. He hit his ninth home run and a double and drove in four runs.
"Nolan pumps you up," Davis said. "Playing with him is something you can tell your grandkids about."
San Diego 7, Montreal 1--Carmelo Martinez had three hits, including a two-run home run, and drove in three runs at San Diego.
Jimmy Jones pitched a five-hitter to improve his record to 3-4.
It was the first time this season that the light-hitting Padres had scored more than five runs.
St. Louis 7, Atlanta 5--Terry Pendleton had three hits and drove in two runs at St. Louis, and Jose DeLeon struck out 10 before tiring in the ninth.
Ken Dayley, just back after being injured early in the season, got the final out for his first save of '88.
Atlanta starter Pete Smith was routed in the sixth, with DeLeon getting the key hit, a run-scoring single. Smith gave up nine hits, and his record fell to 1-4.
San Francisco 3, New York 2--Kelly Downs, shelled by the Pirates Tuesday night, bounced back to pitch a three-hitter in San Francisco to record his first victory against three defeats.
While pitching the Giants' first complete game since Dave Dravecky did it on opening day, Downs did not yield an earned run.
Bob Melvin, batting only .195, homered in the third inning for the first Giant run, singled in the tying run in the seventh, then scored the winning run on Jose Uribe's double.
The loss cut the Mets' lead over the Pirates to one game.