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National League Roundup : Reuschel Earns 19th Victory as Giants Defeat Astros Again

This was the year Manager Roger Craig promised that his San Francisco Giants, winners of the West Division title last season, would win the National League pennant.

He said having veteran right-hander Rick Reuschel for the entire season would make the difference.

Though the Giants are struggling to avoid elimination, Reuschel is the main reason they are still mathematically in the race. At 39, he is about to win 20 games for the first time since 1977.

Reuschel won No. 19 Saturday at Houston, scattering 11 hits in a 4-2 victory that dealt a severe blow to the Astros’ hopes of catching the Dodgers.

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Will Clark drove in his 100th run as the Giants scored their fifth straight victory, all on the road.

The loss was a big blow to the Astros, who fell 8 games out of first place. With 14 games to play, they have lost 9 more games than the Dodgers.

It has been a remarkable season for Reuschel. Although the Giants aren’t following his lead, he is closing fast. In his last eight starts, he has pitched at least seven innings and has not given up more than three runs in any of them.

He has a 2.08 earned-run average during the last month and a 5-2 record with one no-decision. He lost 2-1 and 3-2 decisions.

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“Reuschel might be the most amazing pitcher I’ve ever been around,” Craig said. “He had surgery (in 1982), couldn’t lift his arm (in 1983) and was released. Then, he made a slow, painful comeback. Now, he can do it all--pitch, hit, sacrifice and run bases.

“His pitching has given us hope. It would take a miracle because (the Dodgers) have a comfortable lead. But stranger things have happened.”

Reuschel, who has lost eight games, figures to pitch at least three more times. In his eight defeats, the light-hitting Giants have scored just 11 runs.

In the Houston clubhouse, Manager Hal Lanier wasn’t ready to concede, despite the disheartening loss, the team’s third straight. “I’ll never stop talking about winning it until we are eliminated,” he said. “Then, we’ll try to finish second.”

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New York 6, Montreal 2--Manager Davey Johnson of the Mets maintains that he doesn’t know where he’ll be next season, but there can’t be much complaining about the job he has been doing.

Len Dykstra hit a leadoff home run at New York, and Kevin McReynolds hit a three-run homer as the Mets lowered their magic number to five.

It was the Mets’ 90th victory, making Johnson the first National League manager to win that many in each of his first five seasons.

Johnson’s squabbles with General Manager Frank Cashen over personnel matters have led to an uncertain future. “No comment,” Johnson said when asked about his situation.

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Pittsburgh 7, Philadelphia 2--Bobby Bonilla is doing his part to keep the Pirates’ slim hopes alive.

Bonilla drove in four runs with his 22nd home run and a sacrifice fly to help Doug Drabek improve his record to 15-6.

Chicago 6, St. Louis 4--The wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field, and that didn’t help the Cardinals’ Joe Magrane, the league’s leader in earned-run average.

Darrin Jackson enjoyed it though. He hit two home runs and the Cubs scored four runs, two of them earned, off Magrane in four innings. His ERA is 2.36.

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The wind also helped Tom Brunansky of the Cardinals end a 31 at-bat hitless streak. He hit an RBI double in the fourth and a two-run homer in the fifth to tie the score.

San Diego 9-3, Atlanta 4-6--The big interest in the series between the two cellar clubs centers on the battle for the batting title.

Tony Gwynn, who went 3 for 8, drove in two runs in the opener at Atlanta to help Eric Show win his 14th game. Gerald Perry, who went 4 for 8, hit a home run to break a tie in the nightcap. Gwynn is batting .3083, Perry .3076.


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