NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Giants Win Sixth in a Row on Bonds’ Hit in 11th

From Associated Press

The big question after the game was about strategy.

Barry Bonds, who hit a home run earlier, delivered a run-scoring single in the 11th inning at San Francisco to give the Giants a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Expos Sunday for their sixth consecutive victory and a three-game sweep.

Bonds, batting with first base open, hit the first pitch from left-hander Jeff Fassero (1-1) into left field to score Willie McGee and register his league-leading 28th run batted in.

“I wasn’t surprised they pitched to me,” Bonds said. “Fassero had to get ahead of me, so I was looking for a strike. I was thinking about hitting to left to keep it away from (right fielder) Larry Walker.”


Giant Manager Dusty Baker didn’t question Expos Manager Felipe Alou’s strategy to pitch to baseball’s hottest hitter because Matt Williams was on deck. Williams had a two-run double in the first inning and is nearly as hot as Bonds.

“I couldn’t think of a better guy to have up in that situation than Barry,” Baker said. “I was more surprised at the pitch he threw than I was that they pitched to him.”

Fassero’s first pitch was a sinker that stayed up and over the plate.

Alou briefly second-guessed himself for not walking Bonds, and he was coy about his instructions to Fassero prior to the final pitch.

“We didn’t want Bonds to beat us,” Alou said. “I probably made a mistake by not walking him, but the other guy (Williams) is hot, too, and I had a left-hander facing a left-hander.”

The Giants, first in the NL West, started their winning rally on McGee’s one-out single. He advanced to second on a ground ball to shortstop by Darren Lewis before Bonds won it.

Mike Jackson (2-1) retired all five batters he faced for the victory.

Kent Bottenfield (1-3) had retired 15 of 16 before Bonds hit a 3-1 pitch over the left-field wall in the sixth for his eighth home run, tying Williams for the league lead.


Pittsburgh 6, Houston 2--Jeff King hit two homers and drove in four runs at the Astrodome as the Pirates ended the Astros’ five-game winning streak.

Steve Cooke (1-1) pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up two runs.

Pittsburgh took a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Greg Swindell (4-2). After singles by Lonnie Smith and Andy Van Slyke, King hit his first home run of the season, a drive off the left-field foul pole.

King led off the fourth inning with another homer, narrowly clearing the left-field wall.

Atlanta 4, St. Louis 3--David Justice hit a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning to lift the Braves at Atlanta.

Justice’s fifth homer came on an 0-1 pitch from reliever Ron Murphy (1-3). All three of Murphy’s losses have come against Atlanta.

Ron Gant walked with one out in the eighth and went to second on a groundout by pinch-hitter Damon Berryhill.

Justice’s homer to right field made a winner of Kent Mercker (1-0). Mike Stanton retired the Cardinals in the ninth for his ninth save, setting an Atlanta record for saves by a left-hander in one season.


New York 3, San Diego 2--Dwight Gooden pitched a seven-hitter and added a run-scoring double and a single at San Diego as the Mets ended their seven-game losing streak.

Dave Gallagher’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly broke a 2-2 tie and kept the Padres from sweeping the three-game series.

Gooden (3-3) struck out seven and walked two en route to his second complete game.

Chicago 4, Cincinnati 3--Mike Morgan, coming off his worst start in three years, gave up three hits in seven innings at Cincinnati and the Cubs kept John Smiley winless.

Morgan (2-4) walked six and gave up two runs, one earned. Heathcliff Slocumb pitched a perfect eighth, and Randy Myers closed for his seventh save.

Chicago scored three runs in the third against Smiley (0-4), whose earned-run average is 5.74.

Colorado 2, Florida 1--Alex Cole hit a two-out, two-run single against Jack Armstrong (2-3) in the eighth to lift the Rockies at Miami.


Butch Henry (2-2) gave up five hits and struck out eight in seven innings.