NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Herr Gives Mets Shot With His Arm, Bat


Tommy Herr was only the New York Mets’ second choice among available second baseman, but he didn’t waste much time in becoming No. 1 in their hearts.

The Mets obtained Herr from Philadelphia after Houston’s Bill Doran turned down a chance to join the Mets.

The Mets acquired Herr in hopes he would settle down their infield. They weren’t looking necessarily looking for offensive help.


Herr was a big hit offensively and defensively Saturday as the Mets moved into first place in the National League East with a 6-5 victory over the slumping San Francisco Giants. By winning their fifth in a row, the Mets moved into first place for the first time since Aug. 14.

Never known as a slugger, Herr homered in his debut, also had a single and came up with the biggest defensive play.

In the eighth inning, with the Giants trailing, 5-4, they put runners on second and third with one out. The Mets’ infield was playing back and conceding the run on a ground ball.

But Ernest Riles ripped a one-hopper to Herr, who threw home. Another new Met, catcher Charlie O’Brien, blocked the plate and Matt Williams was out trying to score.

When Darryl Strawberry, who earlier hit his 30th home run, doubled in a run in the bottom of the eighth, the Giants’ run in the ninth still left them a run behind.

“I was nervous,” Herr said. “I didn’t get much sleep last night. I was tired, but emotionally, I was at a high pitch.”


Herr walked in his first at-bat, then hit his fifth home run in the fifth to give the Mets a 5-3 lead.

A throwing error by third baseman Gregg Jefferies put the Giants in a spot to tie it in the eighth.

“We were playing back, trying to prevent two runs and the Giants’ taking the lead,” said Herr, who was mobbed by the Mets after his defensive gem. “But Riles hit a line drive one-hopper and I could see Williams hesitate because he thought I might catch it. I knew I had a chance to get him.”

Houston 2, Pittsburgh 1--Until this past week, the Pirates had built a lead in the East at the expense of teams in the West.

But when rookie Karl Rhodes singled with two out and the bases loaded in the 10th inning at Houston, the Pirates lost the sixth of their last seven against the West.

Craig Biggio opened the 10th with a double and was sacrificed to third. With two out, two intentional walks loaded the bases for Rhodes.


R. J. Reynolds had four of the Pirates’ seven hits.

Cincinnati 8, Chicago 1--At 37, Rick Mahler was a pitcher barely hanging on. He was good to have around to fill out a pitching staff. He could relieve or he could occasionally start.

For the Reds, though, he has suddenly become an important cog in their drive to win the West.

The veteran right-hander, who has not had a winning season since 1985, has given a lift to a staff beset by injury and weary arms.

Mahler, given a chance to start when Danny Jackson and Jack Armstrong were ailing, won his third consecutive start in this game at Chicago.

Mahler (7-5) pitched a complete game to take more pressure off the staff and give the Reds a 6 1/2-game lead. Mahler gave up four hits.

“We needed a complete game and that’s what he gave us,” Manager Lou Piniella said. “The bullpen got a needed rest. You couldn’t ask for anything more than he has given us in his three starts.”


Eric Davis provided the offense. He hit his 18th home run, a double, a single and scored three runs.

Atlanta 4, St. Louis 3--Paul Marak gave up two runs in 7 1/3 innings at Atlanta in his major league debut.

Marak didn’t get the victory, but the Braves bunched five hits in the eighth for three runs to win it.

Philadelphia 3-2, San Diego 2-1--The Padres can’t handle John Kruk. Friday night, the Phillies’ first baseman beat them with a two-run double in the eighth.

Kruk singled in the winning run in the 10th inning of the first game at Philadelphia and scored the winning run in the second game.

With two out in the eighth, Kruk walked and later scored on Darren Daulton’s single.