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National League Roundup : Cubs Beat Mets in 9th After Losing Big Lead

Rafael Palmeiro seems to have a fixation about driving in runs or, rather, not driving in runs. And, the New York Mets have this thing about letting Pittsburgh creep back into the race.

Palmeiro, who had four hits, led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a triple and scored one out later on Damon Berryhill’s single as the Chicago Cubs beat New York, 9-8, Wednesday night after blowing a five-run lead in the top of the inning.

The loss reduced the the Mets’ lead over second-place Pittsburgh to eight games in the National League East. It was the Cubs’ ninth victory in 15 games with the Mets this season, including 6 of 8 at Wrigley Field.

“I’d trade them (hits) all in for a run-batted-in,” said Palmeiro, who increased his average to .309. He has 41 RBI this season and had only two in the month of July.

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“I’m not complaining, I’ll take what he did tonight,” Manager Don Zimmer said.

After Palmeiro tripled off reliever Roger McDowell (5-4) Vance Law grounded out. Berryhill then hit a hard drive down the left-field line to end the game.

Rich Gossage (3-2) got the last out in the top of the ninth for the victory.

The Cubs’ 15-hit attack was also paced by Ryne Sandberg who had four hits and Shawon Dunston’s homer, two stolen bases and three runs scored.

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Trailing, 8-3, the Mets rallied for five runs in the ninth inning off starter Jeff Pico and reliever Drew Hall.

Gary Carter led off the ninth with a double and one out later scored on Lee Mazzilli’s pinch single. Mookie Wilson followed with a single, and Gregg Jefferies grounded back to the mound to advance the runners. Keith Hernandez followed with a three-run homer over the left-field wall, and Hall relieved Pico. Darryl Strawberry then tied the score, 8-8, with his league-leading 32nd home run, a drive over the right-field wall.

Zimmer said he hesitated to go to the bullpen to bring in a left-hander to face Hernandez “because they haven’t been doing the job out of the bullpen, and I don’t care who knows it. I thought Pico could get Hernandez.”

Pico pitched 8 innings and allowed eight hits and seven runs. New York starter Ron Darling allowed eight hits and six runs in four innings.

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The Mets made four errors and played a sloppy game.

“We played terrible,” Mets Manager Davey Johnson said. “Except for the explosion in the ninth inning, we didn’t hit, and we didn’t catch the ball. Darling had a miserable night. He was missing, and we didn’t help him any.”


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