NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Strawberry’s Contribution Simply Grand

From Associated Press

Darryl Strawberry hit his first major league home run in more than a year, a grand slam that helped the San Francisco Giants beat the Montreal Expos, 8-3, Thursday night at Montreal.

The loss ended the Expos’ five-game winning streak, but they maintained a one-game lead over Atlanta in the Eastern Division. The Braves lost to Florida, 5-3.

Strawberry, who had only an infield single in 11 at-bats in his first four games with the Giants, also had a run-scoring single in the first inning and a leadoff double in the eighth.


“The more at-bats I get, the more comfortable I feel,” said Strawberry. “I saw the ball well tonight for the first time.”

His two-out homer off Pedro Martinez in the fifth inning was his first since June 8, 1993, when he was with the Dodgers.

He was put on the disabled list 10 days later because of back problems and missed the rest of the season.

“The first four games in San Francisco, I was a little jumpy,” Strawberry said. “Tonight, I was little more patient. The more work I get, the more I get back into the zone.”

The Giants won their season-high fifth consecutive game, all since Strawberry joined them last Thursday.

They loaded the bases with one out on walks to Darren Lewis and Barry Bonds and a single by John Patterson. Martinez struck out Matt Williams before Strawberry homered.


The Giants scored twice in the first after Martinez hit his 11th batter--the most in the majors.

Martinez hit Patterson with a high fastball and Bonds doubled off the top of the right-field wall before Williams and Strawberry hit RBI singles.

“Darryl told us he was just around the corner, we just didn’t know the corner was so short,” joked Giant Manager Dusty Baker.

Florida 5, Atlanta 3--The Marlins got to Steve Avery for four runs in the first inning and held off the slumping Braves to win their fourth consecutive game.

The Braves, meanwhile, lost their second in a row, fifth in seven games and 10th in 16 games and fell to 2-5 on their current 10-game home stand.

Jerry Browne keyed Florida’s first inning with his first home run of the season and Benito Santiago capped it with a two-run single.


The Marlins added a run in the fifth on an RBI double by Jeff Conine, knocking out Avery. The left-hander gave up six hits, five runs, three walks and struck out six in 4 2/3 innings.

Pittsburgh 8, Houston 2--Astro pitchers threw two run-scoring wild pitches and their usually reliable defense broke down during a five-run fifth inning at Pittsburgh.

The Pirates had only four RBIs, with the other four runs coming on the two wild pitches, shortstop Andujar Cedeno’s error--only the 53rd in 89 games by the second-best defense in the league--and a double-play grounder.

Rookie right-hander Jon Lieber (5-4) bounced back after a pair of rough starts against Central Division-leading Cincinnati to pitch his first major league complete game.

Chicago 4, Cincinnati 3--Mark Parent’s two-run homer in the seventh inning gave the Cubs the lead and they held on for the victory at Cincinnati.

Parent’s homer came after John Smiley walked Steve Buechele. Parent hit Smiley’s first pitch over the left-field wall for a 3-2 lead.


The Cubs added a run in the eighth on consecutive singles by Rey Sanchez, Mark Grace and Sammy Sosa.

Colorado 8, St. Louis 1--Andres Galarraga hit a two-run homer after a rain delay, helping David Nied earn his ninth victory in the Rockies’ rout at Denver.

Galarraga’s 26th homer--which set a Colorado team record, eclipsing the 25 homers hit by Charlie Hayes last season--came off reliever Mike Perez in the sixth inning and broke a 1-1 tie.

Perez (2-3) had replaced starter Vicente Palacios to start the sixth, after play had been interrupted for 1 hour 19 minutes because of rain. With one out, Dante Bichette collected his third of four singles, and Galarraga followed with his homer to left field.

Nied (9-4) pitched seven innings, allowing four hits and one run.

St. Louis’ Ozzie Smith set a major league record for career assists by a shortstop with 8,018, moving past Luis Aparicio (8,016).

Palacios failed to get a decision and is now winless in his last eight starts