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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Colorado’s Trip Gets Off to Rocky Start

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From Associated Press

The Colorado Rockies had built up a five-game lead in the National League West, but they couldn’t have been too concerned at the beginning of their trip East, especially since they were starting against the woeful New York Mets.

When they met in the opener Thursday night, the Mets were 18 games out of first in the East and had a 12-21 record at home, including losses there in five of their previous six games. Meanwhile, the Rockies had been hammering the ball and had won five in a row.

But Bobby Jones and John Franco combined on a four-hitter as the Mets changed all of that with a 4-2 victory.

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Jones (5-6), loser of his last four games, gave up only one hit in six innings, and when he faltered in the eighth, Franco retired the last five Rockies to post his 10th save for a team that has won only 26 games.

Jones, hardly a power pitcher, said the key to turning his game around was to get ahead of the hitters.

“I had control of my curveball and even threw it for some strikes,” he said. “I had them hitting my pitch.”

Jones helped his cause with a single to set up a run in the second inning.

Jose Vizcaino had a double and two singles to lead the Mets.

Atlanta 4, San Diego 1--Greg Maddux skipped the All-Star game so he could rest a groin injury. Apparently, he recovered nicely.

Maddux pitched a five-hitter at San Diego for his seventh consecutive victory, losing his shutout in the ninth inning.

About the only thing that went wrong for Maddux (9-1) was a walk in the third inning to pitcher Joe Hamilton. That ended a streak of 51 innings without a walk.

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Fred McGriff, a notorious second-half hitter, drove in all of Atlanta’s runs and hit a home run.

San Francisco 6, Houston 5--That wild and wicked Candlestick Park gave another big assist to the Giants.

The Astros rolled into the windy ninth with a 5-2 lead and it appeared that Shane Reynolds had the victory, having struck out nine and walked none.

But Astro right fielder Derek Bell lost what should have been a routine fly ball in the sun and wind--it went for a two-base error--and the Giants, with only one hit in the inning, tied the score. A wild pitch sent in the tying run.

Then, in the 12th, with one out, Barry Bonds singled through the infield to drive in game-winner.

Cincinnati 11, Chicago 5--Barry Larkin had been returning to form slowly, but he speeded it up at Chicago.

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Larkin homered, tripled, drove in three runs and scored three to help the Reds stretch their lead in the Central Division to six games over Houston.

Struggling Jose Rijo (5-4), gave up five hits in five innings and made it easier by hitting a two-run single to cap a five-run first inning.

Philadelphia 4, Montreal 3--Curt Schilling struck out 10 batters in seven innings at Montreal to help the Phillies end their four-game skid.

The Phillies welcomed the road. They had lost seven in a row at home to drop out of first place in the East.

Heathcliff Slocumb gave up a run in the eighth, but hung around to get his 21st save.

Pittsburgh 7, St.Louis 6--It was a wild battle at Pittsburgh for two teams fighting for the cellar.

Orlando Merced, running on the pitch, raced all the way home from first base on Don Slaught’s eighth-inning single.

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The Pirates’ jumped on left-hander Tom Urbani for six runs in 2 1/3 innings but still had to break a tie in the eighth to win.

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