NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Glavine Helps Own Cause With Bat, Braves Win
Tom Glavine is the winningest pitcher in the majors. One of the reasons is that when he pitches, the Atlanta Braves have an extra bat in their lineup.
The bat is Glavine’s. He probably is the best-hitting pitcher in the National League.
Glavine singled in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning Wednesday night at Atlanta, pitched a four-hitter, beat the hapless New York Mets, 3-1, and became the first 17-game winner.
All this he accomplished with a tightly bandaged right ankle, which he sprained in his previous start.
It was a meeting of the team with the best record in the majors since the All-Star break (31-16) and the team with the worst (15-31).
Predictably, luck was on the side of the hot team, the Braves. They handed Frank Viola his fourth consecutive loss. Viola (12-12) pitched well enough to win.
After center fielder Chuck Carr singled in the Mets’ run in the third inning, his injury contributed to the Braves’ winning rally.
With Jeff Blauser on first, Gregg Olson hit a high drive to center. As Carr pursued the drive, he suffered a torn hamstring and had no chance to make the catch. Blauser scored the tying run and Olson reached second.
Then, Manager Bobby Cox showed his faith in Glavine, the batter. He is a .272 hitter. Although he is a left-handed hitter facing Viola, a left-hander, Cox had his No. 8 hitter, Mark Lemke, sacrifice.
Glavine lined a single up the middle, then retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced.
The Braves scored again in the sixth on a bunt single and a bloop single. When the inning was over Viola, loser of seven of his last eight decisions, banged a bat against the dugout wall in frustration.
The Braves have won six of their past eight, the Mets have lost seven of 10.
Glavine was 14-4 when the Braves started their drive. After losing three games in July, he is now 17-8 and apparently ready for the stretch drive.
“I’m starting to feel comfortable again,” said Glavine, who was 10-12 last season and is now the No. 1 candidate for the Cy Young Award. “I can’t say I’m not going to struggle again this year, but I feel a lot more confident. I felt the same way in June.”
The Braves, making every effort to earn their first division title since 1982, obtained relief pitcher Alejandro Pena from the New York Mets. Pena, 6-1 out of the bullpen for the Mets, was traded for Tony Castillo, a reliever, and a played to be named.
Chicago 8, San Francisco 6--Chico Walker hit the National League’s first inside-the-park grand slam since 1985, and the Cubs held on to win at San Francisco, giving the Giants their fourth consecutive loss.
Mike Bielecki (12-8), despite giving up six runs in 5 2/3 innings, broke a five-game winless streak and won for the first time since he beat Atlanta on July 28. Paul Assenmacher pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for his 12th save.
Robby Thompson’s 17th homer put the Giants ahead, 1-0, in the first. The Cubs tied it in the second on Ryne Sandberg’s sacrifice fly, then went ahead in the fourth with five runs against starter Paul McClellan (3-2).
With the bases loaded in the fourth, after Chicago took a 2-1 lead, Walker lofted a fly down the line in shallow left field. Outfielder Kevin Mitchell attempted a diving catch, but the ball bounced past him and into the corner. Walker easily beat the throw home, giving the Cubs a 6-1 lead.
Cincinnati 11, Montreal 3--It was the first time in 25 years that pitchers who pitched perfect games opposed each other. Tom Browning of the Reds and Dennis Martinez of the Expos had something in common. Both have been perfect against the Dodgers, Browning in 1988 and Martinez on July 28.
Browning prevailed in the matchup at Cincinnati. Martinez was knocked out in three innings, his earliest departure this season. Chris Sabo hit a two-run home run and a run-scoring single. Browning gave up five hits, including home runs to Tim Wallach and Ivan Calderon, in seven innings.
The last time perfect pitchers hooked up was in 1966 when Sandy Koufax of the Dodgersopposed Jim Bunning of Philadelphia.
The Reds, who remained seven games out of first place in the West, also had offensive help from hot-hitting Mariano Duncan. Duncan had four hits, including a pair of two-run home runs. Since coming off the disabled list last Friday, Duncan is 12 for 18 (.667).
San Diego 2, St. Louis 1--The Cardinals lost more than a game at St. Louis in their effort to keep the Pirates within range.
Jose DeLeon, after two scoreless innings, left complaining of stiffness in his right shoulder. His return is indefinite.
The Cardinal bullpen held the Padres to a run, Tim Teufel’s homer, until the ninth. Second baseman Jose Oquendo’s throwing error put Padres on first and third with one out, and Fred McGriff’s sacrifice fly ended the Cardinals’ five-game winning streak.
Philadelphia 11, Houston 10--Charlie Hayes hit a grand slam in the first inning at Philadelphia, but it was his single in the 10th inning that drove in the winning run. It gave the Phillies 16 victories in a row at home.
The Phillies trailed, 10-8, when the Astros scored twice in the top of the 10th.
Ken Caminiti, who drove in three runs Tuesday night, drove in five more Wednesday.