In a league where pitchers have been in almost complete control, the division leaders got together Friday at Chicago and engaged in a slugfest.
And, the game was decided when Rolando Roomes--a former cricket player from Jamaica--hit a two-run home run in the 12th inning to give the West-leading Cincinnati Reds a 10-8 victory over the East-leading Chicago Cubs.
There were 27 hits in the game, with Roomes--a virtual career minor leaguer before being called up by the Reds because of injuries to their outfielders--getting three of them.
There were a couple of other oddities, too. For one, Cincinnati reliever John Franco failed to hold a lead. An error in the ninth prevented the Reds' bullpen ace from getting his 16th save.
And, the winning pitcher was supposed to be sitting out a two-game suspension. Rob Dibble, appealing the suspension for a bat-throwing incident earlier in the week, was allowed to pitch pending a hearing. He struck out five batters in two innings and improved his record to 4-1.
"I knew our bullpen was short-handed. I figured it was better for me to be available now," Dibble said. "Maybe I won't be needed later."
Roomes is an interesting story. He has been knocking around the minor leagues since he signed with the Cubs' organization in 1980. He usually hit well and with power, but had a problem with breaking pitches and struck out 35% of the time.
He came to the Reds in an exchange of utility players after batting only 16 times last year for the Cubs. The Reds had batting coach Tony Perez work with him during spring training, then sent him back to the minors.
With Kal Daniels and Eric Davis hurt, they summoned Roomes. He might stay awhile.
"Tony taught me to keep my right arm up in order to hit breaking balls and it's really paid off," Roomes, 27, said. "I'm learning to be patient."
St. Louis 3, Atlanta 0--Scott Terry (4-3), winless since April 27, held the Braves to two hits in seven innings and the Cardinals handed the Braves their sixth loss in a row and 11th in 13 games. The Braves have scored only 13 runs in the last 10 games.
Willie McGee doubled in two runs in a three-run first inning.
Montreal 5, San Diego 0--Bryn Smith (5-1) pitched a six-hitter at San Diego, the Expos' third consecutive complete-game shutout. The Expos have not yielded a run in 28 innings.
Andres Galarraga hit a two-run home run in the first inning and it made a loser of Dennis Rasmussen (2-5).
San Francisco 6, Philadelphia 1--After the Giants were shut out by Montreal in consecutive games, Scott Garrelts was hoping for any kind of offense when he faced the Phillies at San Francisco.
The Giants scored early and often and Garrelts (3-1) went a strong seven innings, striking out eight. He gave up three hits.
Houston 4, Pittsburgh 2--At Pittsburgh, Glenn Davis hit his 10th homer and Jim Clancy (2-4) won for the first time since he made his Astro debut April 8.