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National League Roundup : Scott Can’t Find a Way to Win, Loses to Reds

If the Houston Astros don’t win the National League West--and it appears that they won’t--they can blame it on a lack of support for their best pitcher, Mike Scott.

When Jose Rijo out-pitched Scott Tuesday night in the Reds’ 5-2 victory at Cincinnati, the winless streak for Scott, the 1986 Cy Young winner, extended to more than a month.

Although Scott (13-7) gave up only 2 runs and 6 hits in 6 innings, Rijo, in his second start since he came off the disabled list, shut the Astros out on 3 hits through 7 innings.

On Aug. 13, Scott was on top of his game. He pitched a four-hitter to beat San Diego, 1-0, for his fourth victory in a row. His record was 13-3, and the charging Astros were only 2 1/2 games behind the Dodgers.

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Scott hasn’t pitched poorly in the last month, even though he has gone 0-4. He has made six starts, including one in which he left after an inning because of a hamstring injury, and has given up 13 runs in 35 innings.

In one game, he left after seven innings with a 4-3 lead. Last week against the Dodgers, a three-run homer by John Shelby with two out in the eighth beat him, 4-1. The Cardinals beat him twice, 2-1 and 2-0.

On the other hand, Rijo (13-8) has made a full recovery from tendinitis in his right elbow. He came back Friday after he missed almost a month, and he held San Diego to 2 hits in 6 innings. He has pitched 13 scoreless innings and has given up only five hits.

“I’m very pleased with the way I’ve been throwing,” Rijo said.

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The Astros can’t find much to be excited about. They fell 6 1/2 games behind the Dodgers and have only 18 left, two of them at home next week against the Dodgers.

“We haven’t been scoring runs,” Scott said. “You go out and give up two runs, a lot of times you’re going to win. Tonight and in several games lately, it wasn’t enough.

“Whether we were out-pitched or out-hit, we were outscored. That’s the bottom line.”

In the last six weeks, the Astros have put tremendous pressure on their pitchers.

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“We have had so many chances but haven’t come up with the big hit,” Manager Hal Lanier said. “You’ve got to score more than two runs to beat this club. I’ve been saying it often lately--you can’t win unless you score. I don’t care who your pitcher is.”

One of the runs off Scott was a home run by catcher Jeff Reed, his first for the Reds.

Pittsburgh 1, New York 0--Their hopes are slim, but the Pirates refuse to go quietly in the East.

Bob Walk held the Mets to 5 hits in 8 innings at New York and Bobby Bonilla delivered a run-scoring double in the fourth inning to beat Dwight Gooden (17-7).

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The Pirates, with only 19 games to play, trail the Mets by 10 games.

Pittsburgh got a scare in the ninth when Jim Gott replaced Walk and was quickly in trouble. With one out, he gave up a walk and a single. He struck out Howard Johnson but walked Lee Mazzilli. But Mackey Sasser ended the threat with a fly out, and Gott had his 29th save.

The victory ended the Mets’ five-game winning streak.

The Mets are 12-6 against the Pirates this season.

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San Francisco 4, San Diego 1--When the Giants give veteran Rick Reuschel some support, the big right-hander is usually a winner.

In this game at San Diego, Robby Thompson and Candy Maldonado hit home runs and Reuschel pitched a strong seven innings to improve to 18-9.

The victory moved the Giants a game ahead of the Padres in the battle for fourth place in the West.

Once again, the Padres were without Tony Gwynn, their best hitter. Gwynn, who has a thumb injury, may not play again this season. He’s hitting .308 and may win the batting title anyway.

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Chicago 9, Philadelphia 2--It was a good night for grand slams. Cub catcher Damon Berryhill hit his first bases-loaded home run in the seventh inning at Philadelphia to assure Greg Maddux of a victory.

It was only the second victory in seven decisions for Maddux since the All-Star break. He went 15-3 in the first half of the season.

He gave up 6 hits in 7 innings and struck out 6 to end the Cubs’ 5-game losing streak.

Montreal 7, St. Louis 1--It’s feast or famine for the Cardinals. After they won seven in a row on a home stand in which the pitchers yielded only 11 runs, the staff has collapsed at Montreal.

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The Expos scored 14 runs Monday night to end the winning streak. Hubie Brooks’ fifth grand slam was all Pascual Perez needed to improve his record to 11-6.

Brooks had three hits and drove in five runs.


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