NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Braves’ Rare Loss to Mets Is Giants’ Gain

From Associated Press

The San Francisco Giants finally got a break on Saturday when the Atlanta Braves finally lost a game.

The Braves, one out away from another victory at Atlanta, blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning and lost to the last-place Mets, 3-2, in the 10th on rookie Tito Navarro’s first major league hit.

“You’re going to lose a few like that,” Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox said after his team’s NL West lead was cut to three games. The Giants defeated Cincinnati, 6-1.

The Braves had won four consecutive games and 31 of their last 37.


Mike Stanton (4-6) retired the first two batters in the 10th before giving up a pinch-single to Darrin Jackson and a single to Jeff McKnight. Steve Bedrosian then relieved and Navarro, 0 for 11 since being called up, hit a single to right, scoring the go-ahead run.

“That first hit was slow in coming, but I guess it came at a good time,” Navarro said. “Maybe the Giants will buy me a steak dinner.”

Trailing, 2-0, the Mets tied it in the ninth to cost Greg Maddux his 19th victory. With two out, McKnight and pinch-hitter Ced Landrum singled and Ryan Thompson walked to load the bases.

Greg McMichael relieved and Todd Hundley, who had three hits off Maddux, followed with his fourth hit, an infield single scoring McKnight. Dave Gallagher then got an infield single to shortstop, scoring Landrum with the tying run.


Jeff Innis (2-3) earned the victory with a scoreless ninth and rookie Mauro Gozzo got his first major league save.

San Francisco 6, Cincinnati 1--Todd Benzinger homered twice and John Burkett, winless for the last month, pitched six strong innings as the Giants beat the Reds at Cincinnati.

The Giants have emerged from an eight-game losing streak at home to win their first two from the Reds, losers of a season-high eight consecutive games and 13 of 16.

“I thought if we won our first game (in Cincinnati), everything would pretty much be back to normal,” Benzinger said. “We broke out in a big way.


“We’ve got 15 games left. It’s quite apparent we’ve got to win 12 or 13 to think we have a good chance. We can do that. We’re off to a good start. We’ve got two weeks to play and we’ve got to play excellent baseball.”

Benzinger, a former Red, drove in four runs while filling in again for the injured Will Clark. Benzinger hit a solo homer in the third and a three-run homer in the fourth off Tim Pugh (8-15), his second two-homer game of the season. He has six for the season.

“I play every once in a while,” Benzinger said. “When I get the chance, I like to do well because soon I’ll be back on the bench watching.”

Clark aggravated a stretched ligament in his right knee Friday night and was on the bench Saturday. He had started the last five games after being disabled for 18 days.


Burkett, winning for the first time in a month, improved to 19-7.

Chicago 6, Florida 5--Sammy Sosa’s run-scoring single in the seventh inning broke a tie as the Cubs rallied to beat the Marlins at Chicago.

Sosa slapped a liner to right field with two outs as the Cubs rallied from a 5-2 deficit. Jose Vizcaino singled with one out and Rich Rodriguez relieved Richie Lewis (6-2), walking Mark Grace. One out later, Sosa put Chicago ahead to stay.

Bill Brennan (1-1), called up Sept. 10 from the minors, was the winner. Brennan, 31, pitched two scoreless innings for his first major league victory, and Randy Myers worked the ninth for his 47th save in 53 opportunities.


Florida first baseman Orestes Destrade hit a pair of two-run homers.

St. Louis 8, Pittsburgh 1--Rheal Cormier pitched a six-hitter and Todd Zeile went three for four with a two-run homer as the Cardinals beat the Pirates at St. Louis.

Houston 4, San Diego 2--Doug Drabek pitched a six-hitter and struck out 11 to equal a career high as the Astros beat the Padres at Houston.

Drabek (9-16) walked only one while pitching his seventh complete game of the season. Drabek, whose 16 losses represent a career high, won for only the third time in 11 decisions.