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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : A Little Pitching Goes Long Way for Reds

From Associated Press

All it takes for the Reds to win is a little pitching.

“You have to have well-pitched games in order to win,” Cincinnati manager Lou Piniella said Saturday after a 7-0 victory over the Giants.

Scott Scudder (4-3), on the disabled list for 51 days with shoulder tendinitis, won for the first time since June 26. He gave up four hits, struck out three and walked one as the Reds got consecutive shutouts for the first time since May 18-19 last season.

“I’ve never been hurt before, so I didn’t know what to expect,” said Scudder, who threw 71 pitches. “It’s been so long since I’d been out there. I told (catcher) Jeff Reed to point me in the right direction to throw.”

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Norm Charlton pitched three innings and Ted Power finished the six-hitter. On Friday, Kip Gross and Rob Dibble combined on a five-hit, 5-0 victory.

“The teams which have been struggling are those with pitching problems,” Piniella said. “We’ve been swinging the bats well the last couple of days, but the big thing is that the pitching is coming around.”

Cincinnati, which has won just 12 of its last 37 games, sent the Giants to consecutive shutouts losses for the first time since April 24-26, 1988. Paul O’Neill led the offense with a three-run homer and a single.

“We’ve faced some good young pitchers the last two games, but we’re also not swinging the bats well,” Giants manager Roger Craig said. “To get shut out two games in a row at this time is tough, but well bounce back.”

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O’Neill hit an RBI single in the first, and the Reds chased John Burkett (9-7) with a five-run third.

Bill Doran, Barry Larkin and Hal Morris singled for one run and O’Neill followed with his 22nd homer of the season, a three-run drive. One out later, Chris Sabo hit his 18th home run for a 6-0 lead.

Morris hit his ninth home run in the ninth.

Pirates 4, Mets 1--Zane Smith outdueled Dwight Gooden as the Mets’ worst slide in nine years continued with a 4-1 loss to the Pirates for New York’s ninth straight defeat.

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Not even Gooden, 5-0 with three no-decisions in his previous eight starts, could halt the Mets’ 21st loss in 25 games -- their worst slump since they lost 15 straight and 24 of 29 in August 1982.

The Mets are 0-9 on their road trip to Chicago, St. Louis and now Pittsburgh. The Pirates have won seven of their last eight.

Smith (11-9), the loser of three in a row and seven of his last 10 decisions, settled down after allowing Howard Johnson’s 26th homer in the second. He gave up seven hits in eight innings, struck out two and did not walk a batter for the fourth consecutive start. Stan Belinda pitched the ninth for his 12th save. Gooden (12-7) took the loss.

Expos 3, Cardinals 0--Dennis Martinez pitched a six-hitter for his major league-leading fifth shutout and the Expos beat St. Louis, ending the Cardinals’ four-game winning streak.

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Larry Walker and Ivan Calderon homered for the Expos, who went ahead in the fourth inning.

Martinez (12-7) lowered his ERA to 2.03, the best in the majors, in his first victory since July 28, when he pitched a perfect game at Los Angeles. He struck out three and walked two in his eighth complete game, the most in the National League. Jose DeLeon (5-9) lost for the first time in six starts.


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