Willie Banks has discovered a winning combination that’s making his life on the mound easier and much more enjoyable.
After pitching the first complete game and first shutout of his major league career against the Dodgers in his last outing, Banks had a no-hitter for 7 1/3 innings in leading the Cubs over the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-0, at Chicago on Monday.
Banks won his career-best fourth consecutive start. Banks, trying to pitch the Cubs’ first no-hitter since Milt Pappas in 1972, gave up a single to Kim Batiste with one out in the eighth.
“I’m starting to hit my spots, get my breaking ball over and mixing it up to keep the guys off balance,” Banks said. “I’m being successful doing that. The games are a lot quicker and the games are a lot more fun.”
Banks (6-4) gave up one hit, struck out six and walked three in eight innings. He was hit in the back of the hip by a pitch from reliever Bob Wells in the sixth, and left the game after the eighth because of tightness in his back.
Randy Myers completed the combined one-hitter, pitching the ninth for his 12th save.
Last Tuesday, Banks pitched a four-hitter against the Dodgers. Banks, the third pick overall in the 1987 draft, pitched a no-hitter in the minors in 1989 for Visalia of the California League.
The Cubs won their seventh consecutive home game after starting the season 0-12 at Wrigley Field.
Atlanta 4, San Francisco 3--Jarvis Brown hit his first major league home run in the 11th inning to give the Braves a victory at San Francisco.
Brown had been hitless in seven at-bats since being called up from triple-A Richmond on May 4. Known for his speed and defense, he got into the game in the ninth as a pinch-runner for outfielder David Justice, and won it when he drove a one-out, 1-and-2 pitch from Rod Beck (1-3) into the left field bleachers.
Brown’s homer, in his 193rd at-bat in the majors, made a winner of Greg McMichael (2-2). McMichael retired Steve Scarsone with the bases loaded to end the 10th and pitched the 11th.
Roberto Kelly, in his first game for Atlanta since being traded by the Reds on Sunday for Deion Sanders, went one for four with a walk. He scored two runs and stole a base.
Gregg Olson, who had been on the disabled list because of elbow problems, got two outs in the 10th before McMichael relieved. John Smoltz, trying to end a five-game losing streak, got a no-decision after giving up three runs and six hits, walking three and striking out eight in nine innings.
Houston 4, Florida 3--After his base-running blunder cost the Astros a chance to take the lead in the eighth inning at Houston, Craig Biggio redeemed himself in the ninth. Biggio drove in two runs, including the game-winner with a two-out single.
Biggio was tagged out in a rundown in the eighth while trying to stretch a single into a double. Jeff Bagwell followed with a double.
Colorado 12, New York 2--The Rockies’ Andres Galarraga is proving that 1993, when he won the National League batting title with a .370 average, was no fluke. The 32-year-old first baseman hit a grand slam, the fifth of his career and second of the season, as the Rockies pounded four Met pitchers at New York.
Galarraga is batting .332 with 18 home runs. He now has 19 RBIs for the month, after getting an NL-record 30 in April.