NATIONAL LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Rookie Helps Astros Gain Ground on Dodgers

From Associated Press

Rookie Donne Wall won his second consecutive game, going 7 2/3 strong innings Monday night to keep the Houston Astros in the National League wild-card race with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Houston.

The victory moved the Astros, who have won four in a row, within one game of the Dodgers in the race for the fourth playoff spot.

Wall (2-1), who joined the Astros after being named Pacific Coast League player of the year, didn't give up a run until the fourth when Mark Grace tied his career high with his 14th home run.

Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

Chicago's Jim Bullinger (11-8) lost for the sixth time in his last seven starts. He walked seven and struck out four.

Atlanta 7, New York 1--Steve Avery ended a four-game losing streak by scattering four hits and the Braves scored six runs in the third inning at Atlanta.

The victory was Atlanta's fifth in a row and ended the Mets' winning streak at five.

Avery (7-13) had lost four consecutive decisions and was 2-8 since July 26. The left-hander walked two and struck out eight.

Chipper Jones broke out of a 0-for-14 slump with a run-scoring single in the third off Bobby Jones (9-9) and added a home run--his 21st--in the fifth off Pete Walker.

St. Louis 4, Pittsburgh 2--Donovan Osborne won his third consecutive start after going 16 without a victory to lead the Cardinals at St. Louis.

T.J. Mathews pitched the ninth for his second save.

Pirate starter Esteban Loaiza (8-9) lost his fourth consecutive start. He is 0-3 with a 10.22 earned-run average in three starts against the Cardinals this year.

Cincinnati 7, Montreal 4--Pete Schourek gave up two home runs, then doubled to start the go-ahead rally as the Reds ended a three-game losing streak and won at Cincinnati.

The Reds won for only the fourth time in 11 games, reducing their clinching number in the NL Central to three.

The Expos tied an NL record by using eight pitchers, but lost their fourth in a row.

Schourek (17-7) struggled to join Atlanta's Greg Maddux as the league's only 17-game winners. He gave up solo home runs to Yamil Benitez and Rondell White and a single to Mark Grudzielanek that put the Expos up, 3-2, in the fifth.

Schourek started the winning rally with his first double of the season to open the fifth. He scored on Thomas Howard's single to center. Thomas continued to second on the play and scored on Reggie Sanders' single to left.

Philadelphia 13, Florida 10--Charlie Hayes had three hits and two runs batted in and Tom Marsh had his first four-hit game as the Phillies won at Philadelphia.

Florida's Gary Sheffield had two homers and a career-high seven RBIs. His three-run home run in the sixth was his eight consecutive hit over two games, a club record.

Florida tied an NL record by using eight pitchers in a nineinning game.

The Phillies trailed, 9-6, when they scored six runs off four pitchers in the sixth. Hayes had a two-run double to drive in the first two and Kevin Flora's double drove in the final run of the inning.

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