Thursday, April 29, 2004

NL: Mondesi comes through for Bucs

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - Raul Mondesi hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning and Josh Fogg shook off three consecutive terrible starts to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Houston Astros 4-2 on Wednesday night.

Mondesi ended an 0-for-17 Pirates streak with runners in scoring position with his two-run double off Roy Oswalt (2-1), which followed Jack Wilson's leadoff single and Jason Kendall's walk.

"I'd been looking for a curveball the entire game and I finally got it," Mondesi said.

Fogg brought one of the majors' worst ERAs - a remarkably high 17.00 - into the game, only to outpitch Oswalt and help end the Astros' right-hander's seven-game winning streak dating to last season. Fogg limited Houston to two runs in seven innings, while Oswalt gave up four runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings.

"I got to see the third, fourth and fifth innings again," Fogg said. "It had been awhile."

Salomon Torres (1-0) followed Fogg with a scoreless eighth for the victory, and Jose Mesa pitched the ninth for his sixth save in as many opportunities.

Fogg didn't retire any of the six batters he faced in a 12-1 loss to the Cubs on April 21 and had allowed 15 runs in nine innings over his three starts. He was so pitching so poorly, the Pirates took the unusual step of having him throw two simulated games between starts, something most pitchers do only during spring training.

The extra sessions must have worked as Fogg limited Houston to two runs and six hits, striking out four and walking three in his best start since his complete-game 9-1 victory over Cincinnati on Sept. 8.

Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 3

PHOENIX - Steve Finley hit three home runs, but Alex Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning as the Chicago Cubs avoided a three-game sweep.

Gonzalez homered off Matt Mantei to help the Cubs snap the Diamondbacks' three-game winning streak after Finley's third solo shot had tied it at 3-3 in the eighth.

Arizona's Richie Sexson left the game with an injured left shoulder. It occurred when he swung at a pitch from reliever LaTroy Hawkins with one out in the eighth inning. The extent of the injury wasn't immediately known.

Phillies 6, Cardinals 3

ST. LOUIS - Pinch runner Marlon Byrd scored on an infield grounder to snap a tie in the ninth, and rookie Ryan Madson threw four innings of one-hit relief for Philadelphia.

Edgar Renteria had two RBI for St. Louis, which fell to 3-9 at home. That's the Cardinals' worst start there since they also were 3-9 in 1990.

Pat Burrell had a two-run double, giving him five hits and five RBI the first two games of the series for the Phillies. Jim Thome, a career .484 hitter against the Cardinals, was 3-for-5 with three RBI. He added a two-run single in the ninth off Steve Kline for the final margin.

Marlins 9, Rockies 4

DENVER - Alex Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Lowell and Hee Seop Choi homered for Florida, and Josh Beckett pitched seven innings.

Beckett (2-2) gave up four runs and eight hits, while striking out seven. The World Series MVP avoided losing three straight starts for the second time in his career.

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