NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Alou’s First Slam Gives Expos a Lift
Moises Alou hit his first career grand slam in the bottom of the 14th inning Wednesday night to give the Expos a 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh at Montreal, moving them within six games of the Pirates in the National League East.
Pittsburgh’s magic number to clinch the division is five.
Delino DeShields led off the 14th with a triple off Roger Mason, and Spike Owen followed with a walk. The runners held as Marquis Grissom grounded to second before Larry Walker was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Alou then hit the first pitch just inside the foul screen in left field for his seventh home run of the season.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going to stay fair,” Alou said. “He hung the pitch. I was looking for something up in the strike zone. I didn’t want to hit a ground ball.”
Said Mason: “Once we got Grissom out, I thought we had a decent chance to get out of the inning. As soon as the pitch to Moises left my hand, I knew it wasn’t a good one. It was a slider that just spun.”
The Pirates were one out from victory in the 10th after breaking a scoreless tie on Don Slaught’s bloop RBI single in the top of the inning. But the Expos answered with John Vander Wal’s pinch-hit RBI double that scored Alou for the tying run.
Montreal’s Dennis Martinez yielded two hits and two walks in nine innings, and Pirate rookie Tim Wakefield gave up five hits in seven innings.
Pittsburgh failed to get a runner past first during the first seven innings. Only one Pirate reached second base during the first nine innings.
Walker, Montreal’s right fielder, also threw Wakefield out at first base on a grounder to right in the sixth inning. It marked the second time this season Walker threw out a player at first on a grounder.
Atlanta 7, San Francisco 0--The Braves reduced their magic number in the NL West to five as Charlie Leibrandt pitched a six-hitter at San Francisco and gave Atlanta its 22nd shutout of the season, a franchise record.
The Braves gave Leibrandt all the support he needed in the third inning. Jeff Blauser and Terry Pendleton hit RBI doubles and Lonnie Smith ended an 0-for-14 slump with a run-scoring triple.
Bud Black (10-11) lost his fifth consecutive start. Since being 9-3 on July 27, he has gone 1-8 in 11 starts and is 0-5 with a 7.33 earned-run average in five September starts.
New York 3, St. Louis 2--Lee Smith’s bases-loaded wild pitch in the ninth inning allowed the go-ahead run at St. Louis.
Winning pitcher Dwight Gooden (9-13) is finishing the only losing season of his career, but he looked like the Gooden of old in pitching a six-hitter. He struck out five and walked one for his second complete game of the season and won for the first time in five starts.
Pinch-hitter Vince Coleman led off the ninth with a single. Smith had Coleman leaning the wrong way but threw wildly to first and Coleman went to third. With one out, Daryl Boston walked and stole second, and Smith intentionally walked Murray to load the bases before throwing a ball in the dirt to Jeff McKnight.
Philadelphia 9, Chicago 3--Rookie Tom Marsh hit his first grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs for the Phillies at Philadelphia.
Bob Ayrault (1-2) relieved starter Terry Mulholland, who left with an inflamed knee in the fifth inning, and earned his first major league victory.
Houston 7, San Diego 6--A two-out single by Eric Anthony in the top of the ninth scored Ken Caminiti and ruined the Jim Riggleman’s managerial debut with the Padres.
The Astros had a 6-1 lead before the Padres came back to tie the game in the eighth, 6-6. But San Diego ended the inning by stranding runners at second and third.
The Padres, who were eliminated from playoff contention when Atlanta won earlier in the evening, lost for the 11th time in 15 games.
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