National League Roundup : Evans, Still Going Strong, Hits Two Home Runs
The American League likes to brag about the achievements of its 42-year-old pitcher, Nolan Ryan. The fireballing right-hander throws almost as hard as he did when he broke into the majors more than 21 years ago. And he’s having another banner year, too.
The National League has a 42-year-old it is proud of, too. He’s Darrell Evans. It is much more difficult to play every game at a regular position than it is to pitch every five or six days for any player, let alone one over 40.
But the Atlanta Braves pick the spots for Evans and he can still contribute offensively.
Evans, playing first base Sunday at Atlanta, hit two long home runs to lead the Braves to a 6-2 victory over the New York Mets.
In a game delayed by rain three times for a total of 2 1/2 hours, Evans produced the big blows for rookie pitcher Marty Clary, now 3-0 after being recalled from triple-A Richmond.
The home runs gave Evans 409 for his career, breaking a tie with former Dodger star Duke Snider for 21st place on the all-time list.
Clary, who gave up just one run in 6 2/3 innings but departed after the second rain delay, was not yet in his teens in 1973 when Evans had his first big home run year, when he hit 41 for the Braves. As recently as 1987, after his 40th birthday, he hit 34 for the Detroit Tigers. He has six this season in only 128 at-bats.
Manager Davey Johnson of the Mets knows all about the 1973 season. He also played for the Braves and hit 43 homers. Henry Aaron had 40 that year.
“It’s good to see my friend Darrell doing well,” Johnson said. “But I wish he didn’t have to do it against us. I would have enjoyed it more watching him do it on television.”
Manager Russ Nixon of the Braves doesn’t have a right-handed hitting first baseman. But he figured that left-hander Bob Ojeda, who isn’t overpowering, would have some trouble with Evans.
“The old man did a job today,” Nixon said. “He really picked us up. I just have to find the right spots for him. He can still help.”
Except for Howard Johnson, who hit his 23rd home run and doubled and scored the other run, the Mets again failed to produce much offense.
They went into Atlanta figuring to start their move in the Eastern Division. Instead, they only managed to split the four-game series. They trail Montreal by 3 1/2 games.
Montreal 6, Cincinnati 3--Although they managed to extend their lead in the East, the Expos couldn’t really be all that proud of winning three out of four at Cincinnati.
They had considerable trouble against a team missing five regulars because of injuries, including three-fourths of its infield.
In the finale, the Expos scored three runs in the 12th to win a game in which both clubs played poorly. There were six errors (four by the Expos), 17 walks, two wild pitches and 26 strikeouts in the game which lasted four hours eight minutes.
Nelson Santovenia had a run-scoring single in the 12th inning, then Otis Nixon singled with the bases loaded to break the game open.
“We are struggling,” Red Manager Pete Rose said. “But we had opportunities. We were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.”
It was a costly win for Montreal. Shortstop Spike Owen, one of the reasons the Expos are leading the division, suffered a severe ankle sprain in the fourth inning while sliding into third base and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
San Francisco 3, Pittsburgh 1--In the West the first-place Giants, even though their best pitcher, Rick Reuschel, is in a slump, are playing as if they intend to pull away.
They welcomed Scott Garrelts off the disabled list just in time for him to pitch a strong game at San Francisco.
Garrelts (7-3) restricted the Pirates to two hits and an unearned run in six innings and the Giants stretched their lead to three games over Houston, which had its game in Philadelphia rained out.
Jeff Brantley and Steve Bedrosian completed the two-hitter, with Bedrosian getting his 13th save. He has seven in eight chances since the Giants obtained him from Philadelphia.
Garrelts has been out since June 29 with a hamstring injury.
“I was sharper than I thought I would be,” Garrelts said. “I felt more butterflies than usual in the first couple of innings before I settled down to a groove.
The Giants, without a home run from either Will Clark or Kevin Mitchell, improved their home record to 31-15, best in the league.
San Diego 4, Chicago 3--After being dominated by the Cubs all season, the Padres finished up their play against them at San Diego wishing for more.
When pinch-hitter Tim Flannery hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the sixth inning to break a tie, it gave the Padres their third win in a row over the Cubs.
Chris James had three hits, including a second-inning home run.