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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Scott vs. Gooden: Hitters’ Day in New York

Baseball fans might look forward to pitching battles, but hitters generally regard them like a businessman does Monday morning.

But Saturday, when two of the National League’s best pitchers, Mike Scott of Houston and Dwight Gooden of the Mets, opposed each other at New York, the hitters had a ball.

There were 25 hits in the game won by the Astros, 9-5. When Gooden and Scott met last Sunday at Houston, the pitchers dominated, with the Astros winning in 10 innings, 2-1, although neither starter figured in the decision.

Although he gave up four home runs and all five runs in six innings, Scott, a 20-game winner last season, staggered to his first victory of the season against two losses. He yielded home runs to Howard Johnson, Darryl Strawberry, Kevin McReynolds and Gregg Jefferies.

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Gooden gave up six runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. His wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to score in the seventh. His record fell to 1-3.

“Nine out of 10 times you would get the duel,” said Bill Doran of the Astros, who had four hits and drove in two runs. “Today was the exception and I can’t say I’m disappointed. I was due to break out.”

Gooden led, 6-5, going into the seventh inning. With one out, Doran and Rafael Ramirez singled, then worked a double steal. Craig Biggio’s infield out scored the tying run, and Gooden’s wild pitch enabled the go-ahead run to score. The Astros had five steals. The Mets have thrown out only seven of 58 base stealers this season.

Johnson’s two-run home run, his seventh of the season, and Strawberry’s third homer gave Gooden a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

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San Francisco 4, Montreal 1--In his second major-league start, rookie John Burkett, a 25-year-old right-hander, outpitched Dennis Martinez at Montreal.

Burkett, who gave up six hits and a run in seven innings, improved his record to 2-0 when Robby Thompson hit a two-run homer over the center-field fence with two out in the eighth inning. Thompson began the game batting .214.

“I got Thompson on a low changeup earlier,” said Martinez (2-2). “But I got the one he hit up. It was not a good pitch. It was much too high. You can’t make a mistake like that.”

Giant Manager Roger Craig is impressed by Burkett: “He pitched a great game. He changed his speeds well and he pitches better inside than any young pitcher I’ve seen. He knows how to pitch.”

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Chicago 3-5, San Diego 2-6--One game belonged to the Cubs’ Shawon Dunston and the other to San Diego’s Mark Parent.

In the opener in Chicago, Dunston hit a two-run homer with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Cubs a dramatic victory.

Parent was the hitting star in the second game. The Padres’ backup catcher is a lifetime .181 hitter. Last season, in 141 at-bats, he drove in 21 runs.

Saturday, he singled in two runs in the second inning and doubled home two more in the fourth. A baserunning mistake by Jack Clark, who left third base too soon, prevented Parent from getting another RBI on a fly-ball out in the fifth inning.

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Dunston has five home runs in 23 games. He hit only nine last season.

“It’s the first time I ever did that,” Dunston said. “Give some credit to (Manager) Don Zimmer. I hit a couple out in batting practice on our recent trip. He suggested (I) unload once in a while.”

Parent was excited about his performance.

“I hit a breaking ball the first time,” said Parent, who doesn’t play much because of the durability of Benito Santiago. “The second time I was looking for a fastball and got it.”

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Cincinnati 4, St. Louis 2--The top of the Reds’ batting order is back to getting hits in bunches. Chris Sabo and Mariano Duncan, the first two hitters, had six hits at St. Louis and the Reds handed Joe Magrane his fifth loss in a row this season.

Magrane, who was 18-7 with more than a month left in the 1989 season, has failed to win his last 12 starts and is 0-7 since last Aug. 29.

Barry Larkin, who bats third, had two hits and drove in three runs as the Reds improved their record to 16-5.

Duncan leads the league with a .406 average, while Sabo is fourth at .365.

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Jose Rijo had the Cardinals shut out until he faltered in the seventh. Bullpen aces Rob Dibble and Randy Myers finished up, with Myers getting his sixth save.

The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in both the fourth and fifth innings, but couldn’t score.


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