After 157 games in a 162-game season, all that separates the San Francisco Giants from the Atlanta Braves is, well, nothing at all. The Giants and Braves head into the last five games of the season with identical 100-57 records and the National League West title on the line.
The Giants, who had been run down from behind by the Braves, finally caught up again with a 6-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies Tuesday night at Candlestick Park after the Braves lost at home to the Houston Astros, 5-2.
The loss was only the Braves’ 10th in 45 games since Aug. 8, when Atlanta trailed San Francisco by 8 1/2 games.
“We’ve won 100 games,” outfielder David Justice of the Braves said. “We’re confident in our ability. You can’t get all the breaks all the time. If you could, we’d be sitting here with two World Series rings.”
Steve Scarsone’s three-run homer was the difference for the Giants, who were out-hit, 14-4, by the Rockies.
The Giants, who trailed the Braves by four games on Sept. 17, won their seventh in a row and 11th in their last 12 games after losing eight in a row.
Bryan Hickerson (7-5) and Dave Burba combined to shut out the Rockies, who had won 10 of their last 13, on nine hits through seven innings.
Colorado’s David Nied (5-8), who had given up only one earned run in his last three starts, was chased after only 4 2/3 innings on Scarsone’s second homer.
Rod Beck pitched the ninth for his 45th save, giving up a pinch-hit homer to Jay Gainer.
Atlanta entered the three-game home series knowing the Astros had some good starting pitchers, and Harnisch (16-9) proved it. Harnisch struck out eight and walked four before Doug Jones got the final out for his 26th save.
Andujar Cedeno’s sixth-inning, two-out single drove in Houston’s first run and Steve Finley homered in the seventh to stop Greg Maddux (19-10) in his first attempt to reach the 20-victory mark this year.
The Braves avoided a shutout on pinch-hitter Ryan Klesko’s two-out, two-run double in the ninth. But Jeff Blauser struck out with the bases loaded to end the game.
The loss ended a seven-game winning streak for Maddux, who gave up eight hits, walked one and struck out three in seven innings.
Maddux appeared to be on his way to pitching out of trouble in the sixth, which started with singles by Luis Gonzalez and Ken Caminiti.
Caminiti was forced out at second by Kevin Bass before first baseman Fred McGriff fielded Chris Donnels’ grounder and got Gonzalez trapped in a rundown between third and home for the second out.
Cedeno then hit a 1-and-2 pitch near the line in right field, with Bass scoring from second. Finley hit his eighth homer on a 1-and-2 pitch with two out in the seventh. The Astros made the score 4-0 in the eighth on Cedeno’s two-run homer.
Montreal 3, Florida 2--Dennis Martinez took a perfect game into the sixth inning at Miami and became the seventh pitcher to win 100 games in each league, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Expos from being eliminated in the NL East.
Philadelphia clinched the division minutes before the Expos wrapped up the victory over Marlins. After three unsuccessful attempts at No. 100, Martinez (15-9) joined Cy Young, Nolan Ryan, Gaylord Perry, Ferguson Jenkins, Jim Bunning and Al Orth in winning at least that many games in both the National and American Leagues.
New York 6, St. Louis 1--Jeff McKnight hit a pinch three-run homer to fuel the Mets at Shea Stadium. McKnight, 19-for-58 as a pinch-hitter this season, backed Pete Schourek (4-12), who gave up eight hits and one run in eight innings and won his first game since July 18.
San Diego 11, Cincinnati 4--Ricky Gutierrez and Archi Cianfrocco each homered in San Diego’s seven-run sixth inning at Jack Murphy Stadium. Gutierrez hit a two-run homer against reliever Ross Powell (0-2) to break a 4-4 tie and help the Padres end a six-game losing streak, one short of their season high. Padre pitcher Andy Benes had his season end Tuesday night when he was suspended for five games by National League president Bill White for hitting Colorado’s Alex Cole with a pitch last Wednesday.