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National League Roundup : Reds, Minus Larkin, Dibble, Lose to Expos, 6-3

The Cincinnati Reds’ hopes of overtaking the San Francisco Giants in the National League West were dealt a severe blow Thursday when they lost shortstop Barry Larkin with an elbow injury.

Larkin has ligament damage in his right elbow, suffered in a throwing exhibition on the day before the All-Star game. He is almost certain to be out for two weeks and possibly for as many as six weeks.

In a league with only three batters over .300, Larkin has beenas having a phenomenal season. He is second in hitting with a .340 average and has 107 hits.

Also lost is Rob Dibble, the No. 2 man out of the bullpen, who was suspended for three days after being a main combatant in a fight with the New York Mets. The suspension will not start until the controversial right-hander comes off the disabled list. He has a sore elbow.

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It was not surprising that in their return to action, the Reds lost, 6-3, to the Eastern Division leaders, Montreal, at Cincinnati in their first game after the All-Star break.

Dennis Martinez survived a rocky start to win his ninth game in a row and improve his record to 10-1. Paul O’Neill hit a double and a home run to give the Reds a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

Martinez then settled down and even drove in a run for the Expos. His only loss was on April 25 to the Reds.

The Expos (50-38) are 12 games over .500 for their best record this season and lead the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs by 2 1/2 games.

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New York 5, Atlanta 1--Even in a down season, Ron Darling can handle the Braves. Darling, who has struggled this year, gave up just five hits at Atlanta to improve his record to 9-1 against the Braves.

Keith Hernandez of the Mets, who missed two months with a broken kneecap, returned to the lineup, going 1 for 4 and driving in a run.

Darryl Strawberry and Gregg Jefferies hit home runs for the Mets, who are 5-0 against the Braves this season.

Manager Davey Johnson plans on bringing Hernandez along slowly. “He’ll play one day, rest one day, play a day and rest again,” Johnson said. “Then we’ll see.”

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With Hernandez at first base, Johnson put Dave Magadan at third and moved Howard Johnson to shortstop, benching light-hitting Kevin Elster.

Chicago 7, San Diego 3--Jerome Walton was 4 for 4 and drove in two runs at San Diego, but his baserunning left something to be desired.

Walton was picked off first base, was out trying to stretch a double into a triple and was also cut down trying to steal home.

Greg Maddux (9-7), although he needed help in the seventh inning, improved his record against the Padres to 5-0.

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Philadelphia 11-0, Houston 4-3--After being bombed out in the opener of the doubleheader at Philadelphia, the Astros earned a split on the pitching of Bob Forsch.

Mark Davidson hit a two-run home run, his first National League hit, and Forsch gave up just four hits in 6 1/3 innings.

In the opener, Bruce Ruffin (3-3) took another step along the comeback trail, winning his third game in a row since returning from the minors.

San Francisco 3, Pittsburgh 2--Will Clark lined a single to left field to score Brett Butler from second base with none out in the 13th inning at Candlestick Park.

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The winning rally began when Butler led off the 13th with a line-drive single off third baseman Bobby Bonilla’s glove. Miguel Garcia (0-2) then allowed a bunt single to Robby Thompson, setting the stage for Clark.

Jeff Brantley (5-0), who pitched the final four innings, has been the winning pitcher in five of the last six Giant victories.


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