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Kile, Bell Help Astros Salvage Dignity

From Associated Press

It’s embarrassing enough, this leading the Central Division with a losing record, but here the Astros were Wednesday afternoon, on the verge of being swept at home by the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first time since 1991.

By a team five games under .500 but only 1 1/2 games out of first.

Then Darryl Kile stepped in and brought Derek Bell along, and the Astros still have a losing record but are a little closer to respectability.

And one game from .500.

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They avoided a sweep when Bell snapped a 1-1 tie with a solo home run over the left-field fence in the eighth inning of a 5-1 victory at Houston.

Kile pitched eight strong innings for the Astros, who added three more runs in the eighth.

“I’ve been getting some breaks,” Kile said. “There has been some great defense behind me, and we’ve scored some timely runs when I’ve been out there. We held on today and late in the game we got some runs.”

The most important came when Bell, hitless in three previous at-bats, hit an off-speed pitch from reliever Clint Sadowsky (0-1) for his fourth homer.

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“It surprised me, I was expecting a fastball away,” Bell said. “When I hit it, I knew it was out. The last couple of games, I’ve hit the ball hard with nothing to show for it. So it was a good feeling.”

After Bell’s go-ahead homer, pinch-hitter Bill Spiers had a run-scoring double and James Mouton doubled in two more runs.

The four runs in the eighth matched Houston’s scoring output over the last 30 innings.

Kile (9-3) hung on through the early innings as the Astros continued to have trouble scoring. He gave up six hits, struck out seven and walked two. Billy Wagner struck out the side in the ninth.

“He’s on his way to the All-Star game as far as I can see,” Astro Manager Larry Dierker said of Kile. “I wouldn’t have felt bad about sending him out there for the ninth.”

Cincinnati 2, Montreal 1--Mike Kelly, who had entered the game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning, trotted around the bases after a two-out home run in the 11th to give the Reds a victory at Montreal.

It was Cincinnati’s second extra-inning win in a row over the Expos.

Kelly hit his second homer of the season, a line drive that cleared the left-field wall, off reliever Anthony Telford (2-1).

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Mike Remlinger (3-3) got the win in relief, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning. Jeff Shaw got three outs for his 14th save.

Montreal wasted another strong effort from starter Pedro Martinez (9-3), who gave up one run and five hits and struck out 11 in nine innings. He lowered his major league-leading earned-run average to 1.58. The Expos lost for fourth time in six games after winning 11 of 12.

Atlanta 14, New York 7--Chipper Jones homered twice, one of them his first major league grand slam, and the Braves pounded Bobby Jones and the Mets, avoiding a sweep at New York.

Atlanta had 17 hits in stopping the Mets’ winning streak at six games, and Tom Glavine (8-4) overcame a shaky first inning in which he wasted a 2-0 lead. He wound up giving up three runs and five hits in seven innings.

Bobby Jones (12-4), who had won nine of his last 10 starts, gave up 10 runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings, the worst start of his career.

Florida 7, Philadelphia 5--On a day most ballplayers would just as soon take off, John Cangelosi was thrilled to get a start, and it showed.

Cangelosi went four for five with three RBIs at Philadelphia as the Marlins moved 15 games over .500 for the first time in history.

It was the hottest day of the season at Veterans Stadium. An hour before game time, a thermometer on the artificial field registered 165 degrees.

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The game-time air temperature was 92 degrees, and about 75 fans sitting in the stands during the businessperson’s special were treated for cramps and heat exhaustion at the stadium’s first-aid station, said Rita Donnelly, the stadium’s nurse manager.

Alex Fernandez (8-6) recovered after a shaky first inning--four runs, three hits--and held the Phillies to three hits over the next five for his third consecutive victory.

St. Louis 3, Chicago 1--Gary Gaetti hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning at St. Louis.

Gaetti also singled home the Cardinals’ first run and added a double.

With the score tied, 1-1, John Mabry singled off the Cubs’ Bob Patterson (1-3) and was replaced by pinch-runner Willie McGee. Chicago Manager Jim Riggleman then brought in Terry Adams and Gaetti hits Adams’ first pitch for his sixth home run.

Chicago’s Dave Hansen, a late replacement for Kevin Orie at third base, reached base four times and drove in a run with a double.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

BATTING

Player: Chipper Jones

Team: Atlanta

Performance: 3 for 3, 4 runs, 5 RBI, 2 HRs

Team’s Result: Win

*

Player: John Cangelosi

Team: Florida

Performance: 4 for 5, 3 RBI

Team’s Result: Win

*

Player: Gary Gaetti

Team: St. Louis

Performance: 3 for 4, 2B, 3-run HR

Team’s Result: Win

PITCHING

Player: Darryl Kile

Team: Houston

Performance: 8 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 7 strikeouts

Team’s Result: Win

*

Player: Pedro Martinez

Team: Montreal

Performance: 9 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 11 strikeouts

Team’s Result: Lost

*

Player: Ismael Valdes

Team: Dodgers

Performance: 8 1/3 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 8 strikeouts

Team’s Result: Win


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