NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Benzinger Homers From Both Sides of the Plate

From Associated Press

As the San Francisco Giants’ hottest hitter, Todd Benzinger says he must to resist the temptation to swing for the fences this week against the Atlanta Braves.

Benzinger hit home runs from both sides of the plate and Scott Sanderson pitched six strong innings Monday night to help the Giants beat the Florida Marlins, 5-1, at Miami.

The first-place Giants increased their margin over the idle Braves to 4 1/2 games in the National League West.

The teams begin a three-game series tonight at Atlanta.


“I can’t imagine feeling any better at the plate than I do now,” said Benzinger, who has four homers, including three in the last two games. “But I’ll have to keep my cool and not try to hit two home runs in every game. It won’t happen again this season.”

Benzinger, filling in for the injured Will Clark at first base, hit a solo homer left-handed against Jack Armstrong (7-14) and hit a two-run shot right-handed against Rich Rodriguez.

“These are the kinds of things you need from guys who supposedly aren’t regulars,” Giant Manager Dusty Baker said. “Todd’s a regular in his heart. That’s what counts.”

Benzinger, batting .404 in his past 17 games, almost drove in three more runs. Marlin center fielder Chuck Carr made a running, leaping catch of his long bases-loaded fly to end the fifth inning.


Sanderson gave up one run, six hits and no walks for his second victory over Florida in 10 days.

Chicago 10, Philadelphia 6--Rick Wilkins’ grand slam with two outs in the 11th lifted the Cubs at Chicago.

Wilkins homered against Roger Mason (4-11) for his first career grand slam and his 25th homer of the season.

With two out, Mark Grace drew a walk, Derrick May reached on an infield single and Sammy Sosa walked before Wilkins homered.

Cincinnati 10, St. Louis 3--Thomas Howard hit a two-run homer and singled twice, and Jose Rijo (12-7) overcame a shaky start at St. Louis.

Howard, acquired Aug. 20 in a trade with Cleveland, hit his third homer in 10 games during a five-run fourth inning.

Rijo gave up 10 hits and walked five, but gave up only two runs in six innings. He struck out five to raise his league-leading total to 189.

New York 5, Houston 4--Joe Orsulak hit a tie-breaking solo homer against Xavier Hernandez (3-4) in the eighth at New York as the Mets handed the Astros their fifth consecutive loss.


Mike Maddux (3-6) faced only one batter in relief of starter Eric Hillman.

John Franco got the last three outs for his ninth save.

Bobby Bonilla hit his 30th homer for the Mets.

Ryan Thompson homered for the Astros.

Montreal 6, Colorado 1--Jeff Fassero (10-3) gave up four hits in 7 2/3 innings at Denver for his seventh consecutive victory.

The Rockies set a single-season National League attendance record with a total of 3,617,863.

Darrin Fletcher drove in three runs for the Expos, who have won five consecutive games and moved into second place in the NL East ahead of St. Louis.