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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Viola Finally Runs Out of Luck as Mets Lose

The one bright spot in the slow start of the New York Mets had been the pitching of Frank Viola. He had been able to overcome the lapses of his teammates and win his first seven decisions.

But the Mets’ miseries caught up with Viola Friday night at San Diego.

They made four errors and he gave up a grand slam to Garry Templeton as the Padres beat the Mets, 6-3.

In the fifth inning, the Mets, who have lost four in a row, loaded the bases with no outs. But Darryl Strawberry fouled out to the catcher and Mike Marshall hit into a double play.

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In the seventh, trailing by two runs, the Mets had runners on first and third with none out. But they were unable to score.

Viola was better with the bat than he was on the mound. Although he was only one for 17 going into the game, he singled in a run in the second on a ball that barely skipped past shortstop Templeton.

Viola singled in another run in the fourth.

Winner Bruce Hurst (3-4) and two relief pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts. Viola (7-1) gave up eight hits, including Joe Carter’s fifth home run in the eighth inning. Despite the errors, all six of the Padre runs were earned.

The Mets are 6 1/2 games behind Pittsburgh in the Eastern Division. They have a 3-10 record on the road, worst in the league.

Cincinnati 1, St. Louis 0--Paul O’Neill’s home run with two out in the ninth inning at Cincinnati gave the Reds their 24th victory in 32 games.

The Cardinals’ Ken Dayley, a left-hander, had struck out the first two he faced in relief of Greg Mathews in the ninth. Dayley threw O’Neill the pitch that usually gets him out--a high, outside fastball--but this time O’Neill hit his fourth home run.

“That pitch usually gets him,” Dayley said. “But sometimes your best pitch doesn’t do the job.”

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O’Neill said the home run surprised him. “I don’t hit Dayley,” he said, “so I was just trying to avoid a strikeout.”

Encouraging for the Cardinals were eight shutout innings by Mathews. The left-hander, who missed all of last season because of surgery, has pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings in his last two starts.

Pittsburgh 9, Atlanta 3--Bobby Bonilla hit the Pirates’ first grand slam since 1987 and veteran right-hander Bob Walk won his fourth in a row.

Bonilla’s ninth home run of the season capped a five-run fourth inning at Atlanta that enabled the Pirates to end a three-game losing streak.

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It was the first home run the switch-hitting Bonilla has hit from the right side this season.

“It ranks high on my list,” Bonilla said. “Grand slam homers are hard to get. It was an exciting moment.”

Chicago 7, Houston 0--Andre Dawson, the league’s RBI leader, drove in three runs to back the pitching of Mike Harkey.

Dawson had a two-run double and a run-scoring single at Houston and has driven in 35 runs this season.

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Harkey (4-1) gave up six hits in eight innings as the Cubs handed the Astros their 12th loss in the last 14 games.

Ryne Sandberg had two hits, scored two runs and drove in another, but his streak of games without an error ended at 123 games.

San Francisco 7, Montreal 2--Greg Litton singled twice during a five-run seventh inning at San Francisco and the Giants scored their fourth consecutive victory.

The Expos outhit the Giants, 12-11, but suffered their fourth consecutive loss. Montreal has lost seven of eight.

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