Baseball Roundup : Will Clark Drawing Close to NL Batting Title

From Associated Press

National League batting leader Will Clark of San Francisco increased his margin over defending champion Tony Gwynn of San Diego to three points as the West Division champion Giants beat the Padres, 7-2, Friday night in San Diego.

Ernest Riles and Candy Maldonado had three runs batted in apiece for the Giants.

Clark, who had a single in the first inning and a double in the ninth, went two for four to gain a point and finish the game at .334. He is trying to become the first Giant to lead the league in batting since Willie Mays hit .345 in 1954.

Gwynn, a three-time batting champion who came in at .332, singled in the ninth inning. His average dropped to .331 on a one-for-five performance.


Mike LaCoss (10-10) pitched five innings, giving up three hits, striking out five and walking one as the Giants snapped a three-game losing streak.

San Diego’s Andy Benes (6-3) had his personal six-game winning streak come to an end. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up five runs, 11 hits and two walks.

St. Louis 7, Chicago Cubs 5--Milt Thompson doubled to score Tom Brunansky with two out in the eighth inning as the Cardinals made up a four-run deficit in the last five innings at St. Louis.

The victory followed a pregame moment of silence in memory of longtime Cardinal owner August A. Busch Jr., who died earlier Friday.

Ryne Sandberg played an errorless first inning for the Cubs and left after moving within one game of matching Manny Trillo’s major league record of 89 consecutive errorless games by a second baseman in one season.

New York Mets 6-7, Pittsburgh 2-0--David Cone pitched a three-hitter, and Howard Johnson hit a three-run homer, raising his RBI total to 101, as the Mets swept a doubleheader at Pittsburgh.

In the first game, Frank Viola held Pittsburgh to seven hits, all singles. Both Pirate runs were unearned.

Cone (14-8) held Pittsburgh hitless through five innings. Benny Distefano started the sixth with a bloop single to left field.


Johnson hit his 36th home run in the fifth inning off Jeff Robinson (7-13). Lou Thornton singled and Dave Magadan walked ahead of the homer.

Kevin McReynolds, whose two errors resulted in Pittsburgh’s second-inning runs in the opener, hit his 21st homer of the year in the fourth inning to help Viola (5-5).

Cincinnati 4, Houston 3--Paul O’Neill, whose strong throw maintained a tie earlier in the game, doubled and scored the winning run in the eighth inning at Cincinnati.

O’Neill doubled to center against reliever Brian Meyer, who lost his first major league decision. Todd Benzinger singled to move O’Neill to third, and Joe Oliver was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.


Barry Larkin batted for Rolando Roomes against Danny Darwin and was credited with a sacrifice fly when he reached base safely and O’Neill scored on a ball that hit off the tip of right fielder Glenn Wilson’s glove.

Philadelphia 2, Montreal 0--Dennis Cook held Montreal hitless through five innings and finished with a three-hitter and his first shutout this season, at Philadelphia.

Cook (7-8) struck out eight and walked two in pitching his second complete game of the season and winning for the first time since Aug. 14. It was the second shutout and third complete game of his career.

Junior Noboa led off the sixth with a bunt single to spoil Cook’s no-hitter. The Expos’ only threat came in the seventh when Marquis Grissom opened with an infield single but was picked off by Cook.


Von Hayes hit his 26th homer with one out in the second off Mark Langston (12-9), who allowed only four hits, struck out eight and walked three in seven innings.

Oakland 4, Kansas City 3--Dave Henderson singled home the winning run with two out in the ninth inning at Oakland, keeping alive the Athletics’ hopes of a 100-win season.

Carney Lansford, who went two for four to raise his average to .338 in his bid to win the American League batting title, singled with one out in the ninth off loser Rick Luecken (2-1). He took second on Jose Canseco’s ground-out and, after Dave Parker was intentionally walked, scored on Henderson’s single to give the A’s their 98th victory with two games remaining.

The A’s are bidding to become the first team since the 1979-80 Baltimore Orioles to win 100 games in consecutive seasons. Last year, they were 104-58 and won the American League pennant.


Gene Nelson (3-5) pitched a perfect ninth inning for the victory. He has allowed only one earned run in his last 23 1/3 innings.

New York Yankees 5, Detroit 1--Mel Hall hit two solo homers and two singles, and Eric Plunk pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts over eight innings to lead the Yankees at New York.

Plunk (8-6) matched his career high of 10 strikeouts while walking four. He came within three outs of his first complete game in 33 major league starts but walked Fred Lynn to begin the ninth and was relieved by Dave Righetti. Detroit’s run in the eighth was unearned.

Hall led off the second and fourth innings with home runs off Jack Morris (6-14). He also singled a run home in the fifth and singled again in the seventh.


Boston 5, Milwaukee 4--The Red Sox, winners in 12 of their last 14 games, clinched a tie for third place in the American League East when Brewer reliever Chuck Crim walked Rick Cerone with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Crim (9-7) retired the first two hitters but walked Dwight Evans. Mike Greenwell doubled Evans to third, and Nick Esasky was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Reliever Lee Smith (6-1) became the winner after blowing the save opportunity. The Brewers had tied the game, 4-4, in the top of the ninth when B.J. Surhoff hit a sacrifice fly off Smith.

Boston’s Wade Boggs, who left the game because of the flu, went one for three with his 51st double, the most by a Boston player since Hall of Famer Joe Cronin had 51 in 1938. His batting average remained at .330.


Chicago White Sox 2, Cleveland 1--Eric King pitched six scoreless innings, and Steve Lyons singled home both White Sox runs in the sixth inning at Chicago.

Cleveland’s Tom Candiotti (13-10) had a one-hitter through five innings before Ozzie Guillen and Dave Gallagher singled to start the sixth. Both later scored on Lyons’ single to left.

King (9-10) allowed six hits but was relieved by Barry Jones after Brook Jacoby walked and Andy Allanson singled to start the Cleveland seventh. Felix Fermin sacrificed, and Jerry Browne flied to short left. Pete O’Brien walked to load the bases, but Joe Carter flied out to end the inning.

The sacrifice was Fermin’s 32nd, the most in the majors since Houston’s Craig Reynolds had 34 in 1979.


Minnesota 10, Seattle 7--Pinch-hitter Paul Sorrento hit a tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the 11th inning, and John Moses and Brian Harper added RBI singles as the Twins overcame six errors with a club-record 24 hits at Seattle.

Gene Larkin opened the 11th with a double off Mariner relief ace Mike Schooler (1-6) and took third on Al Newman’s infield single. Sorrento batted for Greg Gagne and flied to left, scoring Larkin.