Pitching dominates NL games

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2000

The Associated Press

Randy Johnson, Rick Reed and Russ Ortiz made it a day to savor for baseball purists.

Thursday, August 31, 2000

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Randy Johnson, Rick Reed and Russ Ortiz made it a day to savor for baseball purists.

Pitching ruled the National League, with Tom Glavine, Jon Lieber and Darren Dreifort also turning in top efforts Wednesday. A total of 43 runs scored in eight games – then again, they didn’t play at Coors Field or Enron Field, either.

"I knew we were in trouble after he threw the first fastball," Montreal manager Felipe Alou said after

Johnson pitched a five-hitter to give Arizona a 7-0 victory. "Some of the young guys really struggled out there."

Not all of the hitters were shut out, however.

Sammy Sosa homered twice, giving him a major league-leading 45, for the Chicago Cubs in a 5-1 win over San Diego. Steve Finley connected twice for Arizona and Barry Bonds hit his 39th as San Francisco beat Pittsburgh 2-0.

In other games, New York defeated Houston 1-0, Atlanta downed Cincinnati 5-2, St. Louis beat Florida 4-2, Milwaukee stopped Los Angeles 3-2 and Colorado beat Philadelphia 5-4 in 11 innings.

Johnson (17-5) struck out 10 in his third shutout of the season and 28th of his career.

In his last outing against the Mets, Johnson did not strike out anyone for the first time since 1989.

At Olympic Stadium, Johnson earned his first victory in five starts against Montreal, the team he made his big league debut with in 1988. The Big Unit has now beaten every team in the majors except the Diamondbacks, whom he has never faced.

"That’s a very good team," Johnson said. "I’ve watched them the last two nights. They’re a team that kind of lays low. When you score a few runs on them, they come right back and string some hits together."

Finley connected twice, giving him 33 home runs. Luis Gonzalez hit his career-high 27th.

"(Johnson) had a rough outing his last start," Finley said. "He doesn’t have too many of those a year, so he came back tonight and redeemed himself and pitched a great ballgame."

Mets 1, Astros 0

Reed teamed with two relievers on a three-hitter at Shea Stadium as New York stayed tied with Atlanta for the NL East lead.

Reed did not allow a hit until the fifth inning. Turk Wendell pitched a perfect eighth and Armando Benitez struck out the side in the ninth for his 36th save.

The only run scored on a wild pitch by Chris Holt in the first inning. It was Houston’s first 1-0 loss since Aug. 23, 1996, at St. Louis.

Giants 2, Pirates 0

Ortiz struck out 12, finishing off a fabulous August, and Bonds homered as San Francisco won a Pittsburgh.

Ortiz gave up four hits in seven innings. He was 6-0 with a 1.31 ERA this month.

Bonds hit his 484th career home run. He was not expected to start Thursday at Three Rivers Stadium, where he began his major league career.

Cubs 5, Padres 1

Lieber pitched eight strong innings as Chicago, supported by Sosa’s two homers, beat San Diego at Wrigley Field.

Lieber allowed one run and four hits. He set a career high with 12 victories.

The Cubs won consecutive games for the first time since a three-game streak July 29-31.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 2

Richie Sexson singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as Milwaukee beat Los Angeles at County Stadium.

The Brewers stopped a three-game losing streak. Dreifort was sharp for the Dodgers, striking out a career-high 11 and giving up four hits in eight innings.

Ray King picked up his first major league win by pitching a perfect ninth inning.

Rockies 5, Phillies 4

Rookie Ben Petrick hit a solo homer in the 11th inning as Colorado won at Philadelphia.

Todd Helton hit a three-run double for the Rockies. He went 1-for-4 with a walk, dropping his batting average a point to .395.

Colorado manager Buddy Bell returned to the dugout after serving a two-game suspension.

Cardinals 4, Marlins 2

Will Clark homered and hit a go-ahead double in the ninth inning as St. Louis won at Florida.

Jim Edmonds ended an 0-for-21 slump with a single in the sixth. He singled again in the ninth and scored on Clark’s double.