It could only happen in the National League: A pitcher helping a team emerge from a terrible batting slump.
The Philadelphia Phillies had scored barely two runs a game in losing eight of nine to fall out of first place in the Eastern Division. Furthermore, before Thursday night’s game at Philadelphia, they were in danger of being swept by the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.
Enter left-hander David West, who had a career batting average of .152 and had driven in only two runs. But he hammered his first major league home run, a three-run shot, to climax a five-run fourth inning that carried the Phillies to a 10-5 victory. It ended a five-game losing streak and enabled Philadelphia to stay within a game of division-leading Atlanta.
West who hasn’t pitched a complete game since 1990, was more eager to talk about his hitting. He did improve to 3-2. but gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings.
“The home run was pretty surprising,” said West, who had batted 46 times before. “I think I hit a home run in double A. It’s been a while since I did anything like this.”
The Phillies got 13 hits, including Gregg Jefferies’ home run. Six Pirate pitchers, all but one a rookie, contributed five walks and four wild pitches and hit two batters.
“We really needed something like this to get us going. ,” Philadelphia Manager Jim Fregosi said. “It was nice to see us put some runs on the board.”
Colorado 9, Montreal 6--Andres Galarraga’s two-run home run in the fifth helped the Rockies overcome a 6-3 deficit as they pulled three games in front of the Dodgers.
The teams were tied for first in the West until the Dodgers were swept in Atlanta and the Rockies swept the Expos at Denver.
San Francisco 7, Cincinnati 5--Barry Bonds hit a three-run opposite-field home run in the ninth inning at Cincinnati to bring the Giants from behind for another dramatic victory.
The Reds had taken a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning when Jeff Branson’s double scored Bret Boone, who had walked.
The lead held up until Darren Lewis led off the ninth with a single against former Giant Jeff Brantley. Glenallen Hill also singled before Bonds hit his 15th homer to make a winner of Shawn Barton (2-0). Rod Beck pitched one inning for his 15th save.
“It wasn’t a hitter’s pitch,” Brantley (3-1) said. “If he leaned forward a little, it would have hit him.
“I was trying to make him chase a bad pitch. I didn’t really care if I walked him. But that’s Bonds.”
Chicago 8, New York 4--Four errors by the Mets at New York sent Pete Harnisch (1-7) to his fifth consecutive defeat.
“That’s probably the worst game we’ve played all year, and we’ve played some bad ones,” Harnisch said.
Brian McRae, who led off the game with a home run, had three hits for the Cubs, who scored three times in the first inning and had four unearned runs in the seventh.
“I would say the seventh was uglier than the first inning, and neither one of them was very pretty,” Harnisch said.
Houston 5, San Diego 4--Jerry Goff had been around all of one day yet he still delivered the game-winning run in his first start with the Astros.
“I was thrown right in there. I don’t know anybody on the team except a couple of guys from Tucson,” Goff said after his 12th-inning fielder’s choice to the outfield drove in Jeff Bagwell with the winning run against the Padres at Houston.
Goff, a catcher called up from triple-A Tucson on Wednesday, replaced Rick Wilkins, who was put on the disabled list with muscle spasms in his right shoulder.
He drove in Bagwell with a line drive to center but was deprived of a game-winning hit when Tony Eusebio was forced at second before the winning run scored.
St. Louis 3, Florida 2--Brian Jordan’s one-out single in the 12th inning at St. Louis scored Jose Oquendo from second with the winning run.
The Marlins had runners on first and third with nobody out in the top of the inning and couldn’t score.