They took all the excitement out of the pennant race in the first six weeks. Although in the last 10 days the lead fell to 3 1/2, it never was really a race.
At the same stage this season, the West is definitely a race.
The Reds' problem, mainly, is an inability to score runs. The team that led the league in batting (.265) is virtually the same. But the Reds are batting .222 and have scored only 109 runs while splitting 32 games.
It's getting so pitchers can hardly wait to face them.
Bob Tewksbury (3-1) gave up nine hits Wednesday at St. Louis, but easily mastered the Reds, 8-2.
The Cardinals, with Bernard Gilkey hitting a home run to break a 1-1 tie in the sixth, hammered 14 hits, four by Felix Jose. They routed Tom Browning (4-3) in the four-run sixth.
Tewksbury, who won 10 games for the Cardinals after getting his chance last season when the pitching staff fell apart because of injuries, pitched his first complete game. He threw 100 pitches.
It wound up a 3-6 trip for the Reds, who remain in contention in a division in which nobody seems good enough to run away.
New York 7, San Diego 1--The Padres, after their off-season additions, were expected to challenge the Reds. They are staying close only because of the way the Reds are playing.
Dwight Gooden ended a two-game losing streak by pitching a seven-hitter at San Diego and striking out eight to increase his league-leading total to 54.
The Mets have won four of their past five games, but the slumping Padres have lost seven of eight and, at 16-18, are a game behind the third-place Reds.
Dave Magadan and former Padre Kevin McReynolds emerged from slumps to support Gooden. Magadan, batting .224, hit a two-run home run, his first homer. McReynolds, batting .220, hit his second.
Andy Van Slyke hit a two-run home run as the Pirates rallied for six runs in the eighth inning, then held on for the victory.
John Smiley, who has been handling the rest of the league, can't handle the Astros. In two games, the Pittsburgh starter has an ERA of 12.00 against Houston.
Black was within two outs of his third consecutive shutout when Charlie Hayes hit an 0-and-2 pitch for a double with the bases loaded, and Jeff Brantley came to the rescue.
The only Giant victories in 15 games since April 27 have been the three by Black. He had 26 consecutive scoreless innings when Hayes extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
Will Clark homered in the third to end an 0-for-16 slump in which he didn't hit a ball out of the infield. He still leads the majors with 32 runs batted in.
Chicago 6, Atlanta 1--Luis Salazar was expecting a fastball. But Juan Berenguer didn't expect the Cubs' handyman to hit it for a home run. The two-run homer broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh and followed a near brawl.
With two out in the seventh at Chicago, Berenguer hit Andre Dawson. Words were exchanged and the benches emptied, but no blows were struck. The blow came on the next pitch, Salazar hitting it over the fence, and Berenguer had his first loss.