Pirates Try Something New, Rally to Win
The Pittsburgh Pirates, winless all season when trailing in the late innings, rallied for a four-run eighth, started by Al Martin’s pinch-hit homer, to beat the Colorado Rockies, 5-2, Sunday at Pittsburgh.
Jeff King drove in two runs and Zane Smith (3-3) pitched effectively for eight innings as the Pirates, who begin a three-game series at Dodger Stadium Tuesday, won for the first time in the 29 games they have trailed after seven innings.
Smith, who experimented with a knuckleball, said, “I need something, another pitch to show them and to keep them from diving out against me. I threw 16 knuckleballs, and I probably got four or five outs with it. I’ve thrown it ever since I’ve been pitching, but I haven’t used it since I pitched with the Braves.”
Smith gave up two runs on eight hits and struck out eight in eight innings for his first victory in six starts since April 26.
Florida 3, Chicago 2--Closer Robb Nen made a game-saving defensive play to earn his 12th save and preserve the victory for the Marlins at Miami.
Florida was clinging to a one-run lead with two outs and runners on second and third in the ninth inning, when Chicago’s Brian McRae hit a line drive that seemed destined for center field and a third consecutive comeback victory for the Cubs.
Instead, Nen used all of his 6-foot-4 frame, reached up and deflected the ball toward rookie second baseman Ralph Milliard, who charged and threw out McRae by a step to end the game.
Said the Marlins’ Jeff Conine, who hit his fifth home run in his last five games: “I guess Robbie has been watching [Florida Panther goalie John] Vanbiesbrouck. He made a glove save and deflected it for a win.”
Philadelphia 9, San Diego 8--Ricky Otero, called up from the minors last Wednesday, singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning at Philadelphia.
After Lenny Dykstra went on the disabled list because of a sore left side May 21 and Lee Tinsley struggled at the plate, Otero got the call-up from triple-A. He has gotten on base all six games since his promotion and is batting .333 (eight for 24) with two runs batted in and two stolen bases.
Phillie right-hander Mike Grace left the game in the fourth inning because of soreness in his right shoulder. A preliminary diagnosis indicates Grace (7-2) has inflammation in the shoulder joint.
Atlanta 6, Cincinnati 2--Jermaine Dye and Chipper Jones hit solo home runs for the Braves and Tom Glavine improved his record at Riverfront Stadium to 14-1 in 16 career starts there.
The Braves hit 10 homers--all solo shots--while taking two of three from the Reds.
Atlanta has won 13 of the last 14 between the teams, including a sweep in the NL championship series in October. The Reds have been outscored, 74-24, during the 14-game span.
Glavine (7-3) gave up nine hits and one walk over 7 1/3 innings to win his sixth consecutive game.
St. Louis 2, Houston 0--The Astros’ wild guy, Darryl Kile, tied a major league record by hitting four batters, leading to the game’s only runs as the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep at St. Louis.
Todd Stottlemyre (5-3) won for the first time in seven starts at home. He pitched his second shutout, although he had only one three-up, three-down inning.
San Francisco 8, Montreal 1--Mark Leiter tossed a five-hitter and struck out 11 as the Giants ended a three-game losing streak with this victory at Montreal.
Leiter (3-5) gave up Henry Rodriguez’s league-leading 21st home run in the fourth but won his first decision in six starts since April 27.
Dan Peltier went three for four and had a career-high four RBIs.