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National League Roundup : Wizard’s Wand Helps Cardinals Beat Mets, 5-3

Ever since he learned how to handle the bat four or five years ago, Ozzie Smith has thought of himself as the St. Louis Cardinals’ inspiration.

He may have something there. When the brilliant fielding shortstop was on the disabled list to open the season, the Cardinals were off to a poor start.

Smith is back and he’s hot. Suddenly, so are the Cardinals.

Smith, an offensive liability his first half dozen seasons in the majors, had three singles and drove in two runs Sunday at St. Louis to lead the Cardinals to a 5-3 victory over the slumbering New York Mets.

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The Cardinals’ second win in a row since Smith opened his season, dropped the Mets, odds-on favorites to win the National League East, five games out of first place.

Darryl Strawberry, who hit his first home run of the season Saturday, provided the Mets’ offense against Jose DeLeon with two more home runs. The other Mets had only two hits as DeLeon improved his record to 2-1.

From the start with San Diego in 1978, Smith was such an outstanding shortstop nobody cared whether he hit. After the trade in 1982, the Cardinals worked with Smith on offense. Now, although not a home run threat, Smith is a good hitter. In 1987, he batted .300 and drove in 75 runs.

He is as good on the hit-and-run as anyone. In the 10th inning Saturday, his single put the winning run on third for Pedro Guerrero to drive home.

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“I think my attitude has contributed as much as my five hits to the two victories,” Smith said. “I’m still not 100% recovered from the rib cage injury, but I’m playing through it. Your teammates appreciate it when they know you’re playing under those conditions.

“I think riding the stationary bicycle has been a factor in my recovery. Now, it just stiffens a bit when I work up a sweat.”

Mets’ Manager Davey Johnson met with his players to discuss the problems of his team which is 3-7 and has scored only 34 runs in 10 games.

“Was Davey angry? He wasn’t happy,” first baseman Keith Hernandez said. “We’re going home for 10 days. We’ve got to take advantage of it.”

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Ironically, the Mets have scored 15 runs in two wins over Cardinal left-hander Joe Magrane, 1988 NL leader in earned-run average.

Montreal 5, Pittsburgh 4--The way injuries keep popping up, the Pirates will soon be fielding a minor league lineup.

Catcher Mike LaValliere joined the injury list when he sprained his left knee in a crash at the plate with Montreal’s Rex Hudler in the eighth inning of the Expos’ 11-inning victory at Pittsburgh.

Hudler scored the tying run, coming in from second base on Nelson Santovenia’s single with two out. In the 11th, Santovenia doubled off the top of the wall in left, went to third on an infield out and scored on pinch-hitter Hubie Brooks’ sacrifice fly.

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LaValliere was put on the disabled list. Also out with injuries are relief ace Jeff Gott, center fielder Andy Van Slyke and first baseman Sid Bream.

Chicago 5, Philadelphia 3--Rick Sutcliffe didn’t have his best stuff in this game at Philadelphia, but helped himself by driving in two runs with a bases-loaded single.

Sutcliffe extended his winning streak to three games and the Cubs’ to seven. The Cubs increased their lead in the East to two games over the Phillies.

Sutcliffe (3-0) allowed six hits, struck out four and walked five in 8 1/3 innings.

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“I don’t know how I got by today,” Sutcliffe said. “There was a lot of luck involved. Nothing I did was pretty. It’s hard to believe we won.”

After Sutcliffe walked two batters in the ninth, Mitch Williams was summoned from the bullpen. Although he gave up run-scoring singles to Tommy Herr and Chris James, he managed to earn his sixth save in six tries when he got Mike Schmidt to fly to right with the tying runs on base.

Cincinnati 5, San Diego 0--Normally outstanding the first two months of the season, Rick Mahler lost his first two starts for the Reds due to lack of support.

But after Herm Winningham and Jeff Reed hit consecutive home runs in a five-run first inning at San Diego, Mahler breezed. He gave up sixe hits and pitched his first shutout in two years.

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Atlanta 7-1, San Francisco 2-6--The Braves, like the rest of the NL this season, couldn’t contain Kevin Mitchell, but they did outscore him in the opener at San Francisco.

Mitchell hit a two-run homer in the first inning of the first game, but Gerald Perry hit a three-run homer and the Braves romped. John Smoltz (2-1) ended the Giants’ four-game winning streak.

Mitchell drove in three runs with a pair of doubles in the second game to help left-hander Joe Price get the victory.

Mitchell, who hit 19 home runs last season, leads the majors with five home runs and 19 runs batted in in 12 games.

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