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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Mets Use Long Ball to Beat Pirates

From Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Pirates lead the East, but Manager Jim Leyland says he gets nervous when he sees Darryl Strawberry, Kevin McReynolds and Howard Johnson in the New York Mets’ dugout.

“Those guys are good and they’re like time bombs,” Leyland said. “If you catch any of those guys at the wrong time, they’ll bury you.”

That’s what happened Saturday night at New York as Strawberry and McReynolds keyed a 15-hit outburst with consecutive home runs as the fourth-place Mets beat the Pirates, 9-3, to pull to within 7 1/2 games of the division leaders.

Orlando Mercado also homered for the Mets--his first hit of the season and first homer since May 8, 1988--during a four-run fourth inning. Strawberry hit his 11th home run to start the seventh and McReynolds followed with his eighth.

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David Cone (2-4) gave up six hits, struck out nine and walked none in 7 1/3 innings to get the victory.

Wally Backman hit his second homer for the Pirates.

Chicago 4, Philadelphia 3--Mark Grace’s run-scoring single with none out in the 11th inning gave the Cubs the victory at Chicago.

The Phillies tied the score at 3-3 in the ninth when Lenny Dykstra extended his hitting streak to 22 games with a run-scoring single. Dykstra is batting .407.

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Ryne Sandberg hit his 14th homer for the Cubs.

Montreal 3, St. Louis 1--Mark Gardner spoiled Whitey Herzog’s 10th anniversary as manager of the Cardinals with an impressive pitching performance at Montreal.

Gardner (3-2) gave up five hits, struck out five and walked three in 8 2/3 innings. Dave Schmidt got the final out for his fourth save.

Herzog, who took over for Ken Boyer on June 9, 1980, saw the Cardinals lose their third consecutive game.

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Houston 4, Cincinnati 1--Glenn Davis hit his league-leading 18th homer at Houston as the Astros handed the Reds their fifth loss in six games.

Davis has hit eight homers in his last nine games.

Jim Clancy (2-5) yielded five hits in 5 2/3 innings to end his five-game losing streak. Clancy, who spent 11 years in the American League before joining the Astros last season, singled in two runs for his first major league RBIs.

Atlanta 5, San Francisco 3--Charlie Leibrandt pitched a complete game at Atlanta and drove in two runs as the Braves ended the Giants seven-game winning streak.

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Leibrandt (1-0), who began the season on the disabled list with a slightly injured rotator cuff, gave up nine hits, struck out three and walked none in his second start of the season.

Jose Uribe had three singles for the Giants, giving him seven consecutive hits in two games. He reached on an error in the ninth, ending the streak.


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