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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Bichette Comes to the Party and Has a Blast

From Associated Press

Dante Bichette responded to an invitation from Colorado Manager Don Baylor, hitting his league-leading 28th home run to start a three-run sixth inning Wednesday and the Rockies went on to defeat the Reds, 6-4, at Cincinnati.

Baylor had been watching a standout effort by starter Armando Reynoso being wasted through five scoreless innings. So when Bichette went to lead off the sixth, Baylor invited him to get to work.

“I said: ‘Are you going to join the party?’ ” Baylor said.

Bichette drove his homer into the upper deck in left field, only the 19th ball hit to that level since Riverfront Stadium opened in 1970.

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Bichette’s homer woke up the Rockies, who had held a team meeting Wednesday after stumbling through a 1-7 trip against Florida, Atlanta and Cincinnati.

“It was just to refocus, to get redirected,” Bichette said. “I think we relaxed a little bit.”

Bichette, who also leads the league in runs batted in and total bases, said he got a kick out of Baylor’s dugout comment.

“He said, ‘What do you want, an invitation?’ ” Bichette said. “Next time I want it in writing.”

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Florida 8, Atlanta 5--Andre Dawson hit his first grand slam in more than four years and also had a solo home run and double for the Marlins at Atlanta.

Dawson, 41, connected for the seventh grand slam of his career, capping a five-run first inning against Steve Avery (5-9). It was his first slam since April 22, 1991, while with the Chicago Cubs.

Florida won for the seventh time in nine games.

San Francisco 2, St. Louis 1--The Giants completed the three-game sweep at San Francisco as Mark Leiter pitched a three-hitter and Mark Carreon drove in both runs.

The Giants tied their season high with four consecutive victories. The Cardinals, who have the worst record in the National League, have lost six in a row and 16 of 19.

Leiter (8-7) has gone 5-2 with a 2.15 earned-run average in his last eight starts.

Mark Petkovsek (5-4) had a career-high 10 strikeouts in the loss, the most by a Cardinal since Bob Tewksbury struck out 10 last year.

New York 1, Montreal 0--Bill Pulsipher outdueled Carlos Perez in a matchup of rookie left-handers at New York.

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The Mets stopped a three-game losing streak and ended the Expos’ winning string at four.

Houston 5, Philadelphia 4--Derrick May and Derek Bell hit RBI singles in the ninth inning to rally the Astros at Houston and send the Phillies to their 16th loss in 20 games.

Craig Biggio hit his 18th homer in the first inning, one of only three Astro hits in the first six innings.

San Diego 2, Pittsburgh 0--Andy Ashby pitched no-hit ball for 5 1/3 innings and extended his scoreless streak to 18 innings for the Padres at San Diego.

Ashby (9-6) gave up three hits in eight innings. He struck out nine and walked four.

Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 23rd save. He struck out Mark Parent and Kevin Young with runners on second and third to end the game.


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