Originally created 07/12/98

Baseball roundup: McGwire hits 38th homer



ST. LOUIS -- Mark McGwire snapped a homerless drought that had reached 21 at-bats with a two-run, 11th-inning shot into the upper deck as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 4-3 Saturday.

McGwire regained the major league home run lead with No. 38, one more than Ken Griffey Jr. of Seattle. He hit an 0-2 pitch from Billy Wagner (2-3) an estimated 485 feet, and above the Big Mac section for his first home run since June 30.

Before the homer it had been another quiet game for McGwire, perhaps feeling stress from the chase for Roger Maris' record. McGwire started for the 31st consecutive game and was hitless in his first three at-bats with a strikeout, foulout, groundout to the pitcher and walk.

McGwire has played in 83 games, more than any other Cardinal. Before the game, manager Tony La Russa said McGwire needed a day off, but couldn't afford to give him one against the Astros.

CUBS 11, BREWERS 8: Henry Rodriguez hit two home runs, Jose Hernandez hit a two-run shot and Mark Grace added a solo homer.

Sammy Sosa was not part of the Cubs' four-homer attack, going 1-for-5 with an RBI single. Sosa, who homered in the first two games after the All-Star break, has 35 on the season.

PHILLIES 1, PIRATES 0: Pinch-hitter Kevin Jordan's single broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies, behind Mark Portugal, got their fifth consecutive victory.

Portugal and Jason Schmidt, with only one victory between them in six weeks, each pitched seven scoreless innings as the Pirates lost their fifth in a row and 10th in 12 games.

Portugal (4-2) gave up six hits for only his second victory since May 14, emerging a winner when Jordan, hitting for the pitcher, singled in pinch-runner Kevin Sefcik.

METS 8, EXPOS 4: Todd Hundley wasn't the only thing different about the Mets.

New York snapped a five-game losing streak with some solid defense, timely hitting and just enough pitching for an 8-4 victory over the Montreal Expos.

John Olerud homered twice and Rick Reed (10-5) pitched 8 1/3 innings as the Mets won for just the third time in 12 games.

Hundley, playing a position other than catcher for the first time in his career, went 1-for-4 in his first game since undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery last Sept. 26.

Hundley started in left field, his first appearance anywhere other than behind the plate in 744 career games. He agreed to try a new position after the Mets traded for Mike Piazza, and looked good on the few balls he had to field.

ROCKIES 5, GIANTS 4: Dante Bichette hit a three-run double in the seventh inning off Orel Hershiser.

Trailing 4-2, the Rockies loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh on pinch-hitter Jeff Barry's single, Neifi Perez's walk and Ellis Burks' infield single.

Bichette, who earlier had a solo homer, drove a bases-clearing double down the left-field line, chasing Hershiser (7-7), who allowed eight hits and five runs in 6 2/3 innings.

MARINERS 2, ANGELS 0: Randy Johnson, pitching a day after being involved in a clubhouse fight with teammate David Segui, struck out 15 in his first shutout of the season as the Seattle Mariners beat the Anaheim Angels 2-0 Saturday.

Anaheim's seventh loss in eight games knocked the Angels out of first place in the AL West. They fell a half-game behind Texas, which beat Oakland 4-2 Saturday.

Johnson (8-8) allowed five hits and two walks in his first shutout since last Aug. 8, when he beat the Chicago White Sox 5-0.

ORIOLES 2, RED SOX 1: Scott Erickson allowed four hits in 8 2/3 innings and Joe Carter homered as the Baltimore Orioles won their third straight.

The victory gave Baltimore its first three-game winning streak since June 1-3.

INDIANS 12, TWINS 2: Brian Giles hit his first homer in nearly two months and drove in four runs, and Dwight Gooden outpitched All-Star Brad Radke.

Travis Fryman hit his 16th homer and second in two days.

RANGERS 4, ATHLETICS 2: Luis Alicea had a three-run double with two outs in the ninth inning as the Texas Rangers took the AL West lead.

YANKEES 2, DEVIL RAYS 0: The New York Yankees won their ninth straight game to match their longest winning streak of the season behind the strong pitching of David Cone.

Cone (13-2) became the AL's first 13-game winner, limiting Tampa Bay to three hits in eight innings.

TIGERS 5, BLUE JAYS 2: Brian Moehler, dominant at home all season, allowed no hits through six innings and Bobby Higginson homered twice.

Moehler (8-6) gave up a run on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks in 7 2/3 innings. He is 8-0 at Tiger Stadium this year with a league-low 2.05 home ERA.

WHITE SOX 4, ROYALS 3: Albert Belle hit his fourth home run in three games since the All-Star break.

Belle, who homered twice Friday night, drove his 22nd of the season over the wall in the center, a three-run shot, to erase a 2-0 deficit in the fourth.