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National League Roundup : Langston Trade Again Pays Dividends for Expos

When the Montreal Expos decided that Mark Langston was the pitcher they needed to contend in the National League East, they were willing to pay the price.

They sent three promising pitchers to the Seattle Mariners for the hard-throwing left-hander. There has not been a moment that the Expos have regretted the move.

While Randy Johnson, Brian Holman and Gene Harris have potential, Langston has pitched the Expos into first place.

Tuesday night at Montreal, Langston struck out 10 and gave up only five hits in a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Langston, who has three shutouts in his 12 starts for Montreal, improved to 8-3 as an Expo.

When Langston made his Montreal debut May 28, the Expos were in fourth place with a 23-24 record. They are 36-17 since he joined them and lead the division by 3 1/2 games.

“He has given us even more than we hoped he would,” Manager Buck Rodgers said. “He has given us a chance to win every game he’s started. There are times when nobody pitches any better.”

Even in his three defeats, Langston pitched at least six innings. In eight of his other nine, he has not given up more than one earned run. In the other, he gave up three runs in eight innings.

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“It’s nice to get runs,” Langston said, “but it’s probably better for me if we don’t score too many. In close games I tend to concentrate more and make more of my pitches count. When it’s close, you have to have an idea of what you want every pitch to do before you throw it.”

Chicago 4, St. Louis 2--The Cubs, who are becoming the Expos’ chief challenger, ended Joe Magrane’s six-game winning streak, at St. Louis.

Paul Kilgus (6-9), who had not won since June 6, worked six innings and singled in a run. The Cub bullpen finished up for Kilgus. Mitch Williams pitched the last two innings, gave up a run and took over the league lead with his 25th save.

Jose Oquendo of the Cardinals had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 23 games, longest in the major leagues.

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Magrane (11-7) gave up six hits and three runs in seven innings. He struck out five.

San Francisco 5, Atlanta 4--Robby Thompson hit a home run and the Giants won their second in a row at Atlanta, handing the Braves their sixth consecutive defeat.

Mike LaCoss (5-6) worked seven innings and Craig Lefferts earned his 18th save. Ed Whited hit a two-run home run in the ninth for Atlanta.

Pittsburgh 4, New York 2--Bobby Bonilla singled in the tie-breaking run in the eighth inning at New York, ending the Mets’ six-game winning streak.

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Jeff King led off the ninth against loser Rick Aguilera (6-4) with his first major league home run. Bill Landrum worked the bottom of the ninth for his 14th save.

Said Doug Drabek, who fell to 8-7: “I don’t think I’ve ever won on my birthday before, except once in the minors. It was exciting to beat this club.”

The defeat dropped the Mets into third place, behind the Cubs.

Said Met Manager Davey Johnson: “We know we’re not going to win them all. There’s still a lot of baseball left. We’ve played well. That’s all I’m concerned about.”

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San Diego 6, Cincinnati 2--As the injuries continue to mount for the Reds, so do the the defeats. Eric Davis joined the long list of injured players and missed this game at Cincinnati.

The Padres, who had lost four in a row at home to the Cardinals last weekend, handed the Reds their ninth consecutive defeat and 13th in their last 14 games.

Ed Whitson, enjoying his finest season, improved to 14-6. The victories match his career high in 1984.

Garry Templeton singled in two runs in the fourth and Shawn Abner hit a three-run home run in the seventh to back Whitson.

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Before the game, the Reds put left-hander Danny Jackson on the disabled list because of a shoulder injury. Jackson, a 23-game winner last season, is 6-11 and has an earned-run average of 5.60.


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