NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Clark Doesn’t Seem to Miss Mitchell

Those who found fault with the San Francisco Giants trading Kevin Mitchell to the Seattle Mariners, had two complaints. First, the Giants didn’t get enough--only some relief pitchers.

But even worse, it was said, the departure of Mitchell would make it tougher for Will Clark to hit. Everyone would pitch around him in clutch situations.

One of those “relief” pitchers, Bill Swift, is the hottest pitcher in the National League and is 6-0 as a starter.

And there’s no need to worry about Clark. Even with Matt Williams, the Giants’ other power hitter, in a slump, Clark is on his way to another big season.


Clark hit a two-run home run to highlight a five-run seventh inning Friday night at Montreal that rallied the Giants to a 6-3 victory over the Expos.

Clark is batting .352, and he has hit three home runs, driven in 15 runs and helped the Giants stay in the race in the West.

The Expos had a 3-0 lead behind Mark Gardner going into the seventh inning, but rookie shortstop Royce Clayton hit his first major league home run to start the winning rally.

Two walks, a sacrifice, a throwing error and a balk tied the score before Clark untied it.


First base was open when the left-handed Clark stepped to the plate. With left-hander Jeff Fassero on the mound, Montreal Manager Tom Runnells elected to pitch to Clark.

His home run made Clark 19 for 37 (.513) against left-handers.

“I wasn’t surprised they pitched to me,” Clark said. “because Fassero is the only lefty in their bullpen. I hit lefties pretty good.”

Expo catcher Gary Carter, who hit his second home run, agreed with the move.

“You go with the percentages,” he said.

Cincinnati 10, Chicago 7--Pinch-hitter Freddie Benavides hit a two-run double to key a four-run outburst that sparked the Reds to the victory.

After Benavides’ double, Paul O’Neill singled in a run and Bill Doran tripled home another.

The Cubs jumped on Jose Rijo, still trying to win his first game of the season, and built a 5-0 lead in four innings.


Cubs pitcher Shawn Boskie seemed in command, but in the sixth, the Reds worked over Boskie and the bullpen. Glenn Braggs, who triggered the winning effort with a single, doubled with the bases loaded to key the comeback.

“That’s a heckuva comeback,” Red Manager Lou Piniella said. “Give our guys credit. It was a complete team effort. The only drawback is that our bullpen is shot.”

Both teams used seven pitchers.

San Diego 6, Philadelphia 5--Tony Gwynn gets many hits, but only a few home runs.

He hit the 54th home run of his career--which includes more than 1,700 hits--to help the Padres end a four-game losing streak at Philadelphia.

Gwynn hit his home run with a man on and two out in the seventh inning on a rainy night to give the Padres a 5-4 lead.

Pittsburgh 6, Houston 3--Pitcher Butch Henry’s first major league hit, an inside-the-park home run, gave the Astros a 3-0 lead in the second inning at Pittsburgh.

He missed a chance to get the victory after rain stopped play for more than two hours. He never came out to pitch again.


Orlando Merced pinch hit a three-run double in the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie and give the Pirates their 20th victory in 28 games.

The Pirates trailed, 3-2, until Andy Van Slyke hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.

Barry Bonds drew a walk to start the eighth. A sacrifice, an intentional walk and Jose Lind’s line single set the stage for Merced.

Atlanta 2, St. Louis 1--Charlie Leibrandt continued the string of well-pitched games for the Braves.

Leibrandt had a five-hit shutout until he gave up a triple to Ozzie Smith and a single to Felix Jose to open the ninth inning at St. Louis.

Bob Tewksbury, losing for the first time after three victories, extended his string of innings without a walk to 34. It ended when he walked Greg Olson on a 3-and-2 pitch in the seventh inning.

The Braves have seven shutouts this season.