McGwire Fastest to Reach 400-Homer Mark

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Mark McGwire hit his 400th home run, becoming the 26th player to do it and the fastest to reach the milestone when he connected in the third inning Friday night of the New York Mets’ 9-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

McGwire, who hadn’t homered in 22 at-bats, fell behind 0-2 in the third against Rick Reed, then sent a high fly that sailed just fair of the Shea Stadium left-field foul pole, his 13th home run of the season.

McGwire hit his 400 homers in 4,726 at-bats. The previous best was 4,854 by Babe Ruth, who finished his career in 1935 with a then-record 714. Hank Aaron later extended the mark to 755.

McGwire, 34, last year joined Ruth as the only players to hit 50 in consecutive seasons, hitting 58 after a 52-homer season in 1996. He became the first player to reach 400 since Andre Dawson in 1993.

McGwire’s homer broke a tie with Al Kaline for 26th place on the career list. Next up: Duke Snider, at 407.


The Mets’ Preston Wilson, who made his major league debut Thursday, was three for four for the second straight night, doubling twice, scoring three times and driving in a run for the Mets. Brian McRae hit a three-run, fourth-inning homer off Cliff Politte (2-2).

San Diego 3, Atlanta 2--Tony Gwynn, batting .541 in his last nine starts, hit a solo home run to back the strong pitching of Alan Ashby and the Padres held on for a victory over the Braves at Atlanta.

The Braves, who had won four in a row and nine of 10, homered in their 20th straight game when Andres Galarraga got his 300th in the seventh. Atlanta tied a team record set in 1973 for consecutive games with a home run and moved within four of the NL record.

Ashby (5-2) gave up nine hits, walked two and struck out one in eight innings. Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his ninth save in nine tries.

Gwynn hit his fifth home run of the season in the first off Tom Glavine (4-2).

Milwaukee 4, Houston 1--Mike Hampton lost for the first time this season and the Astros’ batters set an NL record for strikeouts in consecutive games as the Brewers won at Milwaukee.

The Astros, victims of Kerry Wood’s major league record-tying 20 strikeouts Wednesday at Wrigley Field, struck out 11 more times, surpassing the NL futility mark for most strikeouts in consecutive nine-inning games. The previous record was held by the San Diego Padres, whose batters struck out 29 times against the New York Mets April 21-22, 1970.

The major league record is held by Seattle--36 strikeouts against Boston pitchers April 29-30, 1986.

The Astros set the record when Moises Alou went down swinging against Bob Wickman in the eighth.

Jeff Juden (4-1) gave up one run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings with four walks and seven strikeouts.

Chicago 5, San Francisco 4--Mark Grace hit a two-run, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 14th inning to lift host Chicago over the Giants in a game that lasted nearly five hours.

With the Cubs trailing 4-3, Manny Alexander and Brant Brown singled in the 14th off Julian Tavarez (2-2) and moved up on an infield out.

Sammy Sosa was walked intentionally to load the bases, and left-hander Jim Poole--the only reliever left in the Giants’ bullpen--came into face Grace. He hit a 2-0 pitch into the right-field corner to score the tying and winning runs.

“We’re disappointed we couldn’t close that one out in nine,” Grace said. “We missed the first quarter of the Bulls’ game.”

In the fourth, the Giants turned their first triple play since 1980.

Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the inning, and the Cubs could have had more. But Hayes caught Jeff Blauser’s liner and started the team’s first triple play since Oct. 3, 1980. Both Grace and Henry Rodriguez were caught off base when Hayes snagged Blauser’s liner, stepped on first and threw to shortstop Rich Aurilia at second to retire the side.

Colorado 7, Montreal 5--Pedro Astacio won for the first time in seven starts at Olympic Stadium as the Rockies put together a five-run sixth inning to beat the Expos.

Ellis Burks’ third-inning home run was the only hit off Montreal starter Dustin Hermanson (3-3) through the first five innings before Colorado got to him in the sixth, when both Dante Bichette and Neifi Perez hit two-run doubles. Astacio (3-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Cincinnati 5, Pittsburgh 3--The Reds tied it in the ninth inning, then won it on Brook Fordyce’s two-run double off Ricardo Rincon in the 10th to beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

The Pirates took a 3-2 lead into the ninth, but closer Rich Loiselle walked two around Barry Larkin’s run-scoring single. In the 10th, with two on, Fordyce lined a 3-2 pitch just inside the third base line for the go-ahead double.


Fastest to 400 Home Runs

Fastest players to hit 400 home runs in the major leagues with name and number of at-bats.

Player: At-Bats

Mark McGwire: 4,726

Babe Ruth: 4,854

Harmon Killebrew: 5,300

Willie McCovey: 5,751

Jimmie Foxx: 5,774

Mike Schmidt: 5,790