The San Francisco Giants were gambling that Andre Dawson's arm was in the same shape as his aging knees.
But Dawson, the Chicago Cubs' right fielder, made the Giants pay when he threw out a runner at the plate to complete a double play in the ninth inning to ensure the Cubs' 4-3 victory Thursday at Chicago.
With the bases loaded and one out, Dawson caught a fly ball hit by Mike Kingery, then made a perfect throw to the plate to get pinch-runner Tony Perezchica trying to score from third.
"I was surprised he went," said Dawson, who also hit a home run in the fourth inning. "But you can't take it for granted. He might have been breaking just to see where the throw was going."
Mike Bielecki (8-4) was the winner in relief and Paul Assenmacher threw one pitch to Kingery to earn his fifth save.
After the Giants went ahead, 2-0, on Matt Williams' two-run double, the Cubs tied it in the fourth when George Bell and Dawson homered on successive pitches off Trevor Wilson (2-5). Ryne Sandberg had a two-run single for the Cubs.
Giant center fielder Willie McGee extended his hitting streak to 17 games.
St. Louis 12, San Diego 1--All of the Padres' starting infielders committed errors as the Cardinals cruised at San Diego.
Padre errors led to four unearned runs in five innings. One of the unearned runs came on a wild pitch by left-hander Atlee Hammaker (0-1), who gave up seven runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings in his first appearance in the majors since September.
Bob Tewksbury (5-2) gave up seven hits over seven innings, striking out five and walking one.
Ozzie Smith drove in four runs for the Cardinals.
Philadelphia 5, Houston 4--In an error-filled game at Houston, the Phillies scored all of their runs without the benefit of a hit.
The Phillies managed only two hits off starter Darryl Kile (0-2) and three overall, but made the most of four errors, seven walks, a balk and a wild pitch.
The Phillies also committed three errors in the first four innings. The seven errors were the second-highest total of the season in a game, exceeded only by the eight committed by Atlanta and San Diego on May 23.
Jose DeJesus (3-2) struck out five and walked two in seven innings. Mitch Williams went the rest of the way for his 11th save.
Cincinnati 3, Montreal 2--Glenn Braggs drove in the winning run with a single off Brian Barnes in the seventh at Montreal to help Chris Hammond break his five-game losing streak.
Hammond (4-5) gave up only two hits in six innings, one of them Mike Fitzgerald's two-run homer that tied the score in the fourth. Hammond, whose single gave Cincinnati a 2-0 lead, went six starts without a victory. Rob Dibble worked the final 1 2/3 innings for his league-leading 16th save.
Barnes (0-3) gave up nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Atlanta 3, New York 2--Pete Smith combined with Juan Berenguer on a four-hitter at New York to gain his first victory in a year.
Smith (1-0), who underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September, gave up two runs in the first inning, then permitted only two hits over the next five before giving way to Berenguer, who pitched three hitless innings for his eighth save.
Sid Bream hit a two-run homer off Wally Whitehurst (3-3) in the fourth.