Brad Clontz’s parents and 50 of his friends picked a good night to fill a bus and travel from Virginia to Atlanta to see the Braves’ rookie relief pitcher Tuesday night.
With the score tied 2-2, runners on first and third and one out, Clontz relieved Greg McMichael in the eighth. Clontz struck out Eric Karros on a slider and got Roberto Kelly to pop up a breaking ball.
In the bottom of the inning, Jeff Blauser’s broken-bat single gave Atlanta a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles and Clontz (2-1) his second victory in six days.
It also gave the Braves their fourth straight victory and moved them into a first-place tie with the Philadelphia Phillies in the N.L. East, the first time since May 6 they have been at the top of the standings.
Clontz, a sidearmer, beat Montreal last Wednesday when David Justice hit a two-run homer in the ninth.
“You really treasure your first big league win the most,” Clontz said, “but it was so nice my family and friends could be here tonight. My parents saw me pitch early in the season. I gave them a game ball from my first big league game and I’ll be giving them one from this one.”
Clontz was definitely going for a strikeout when he faced Karros, the Dodgers’ RBI leader with 46.
“I thought about the double play, but I went for the punch out and got it,” Clontz said.
Astros 16, Rockies 8
Jeff Bagwell homered and drove in five runs and Craig Biggio had two homers, three RBIs and a club-record five runs scored as Houston beat Colorado.
Marlins 6, Padres 4
Terry Pendleton drove in three runs to lead Florida to the victory over San Diego, securing its first series win at home in nearly a year.
Reds 10, Giants 6
Damon Berryhill’s pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh inning undercut a San Francisco comeback and sent Cincinnati to victory.
Cubs 3, Mets 0
Kevin Foster pitched eight shutout innings, tying his career high with nine strikeouts and scattering six hits as Chicago beat New York.
Pirates 7, Phillies 0
John Ericks pitched seven shutout innings for his first major league victory and Pittsburgh extended Philadelphia’s losing streak to four with the victory.
Expos 5, Cardinals 0
Pedro Martinez pitched a four-hitter for his second career shutout, leading Montreal to the victory over St. Louis.
Hudek needs surgery
Houston Astros reliever John Hudek needs surgery to correct problems in his right arm, a specialist says.
An examination by Dr. David Roos of Denver has confirmed the opinion of Astros’ team doctors concerning Hudek, an All-Star last season.
The recommendation calls for the removal of the top right rib and some muscle to relieve pressure on a vein extending into Hudek’s right arm. Once the procedure is performed, Hudek is expected to be sidelined three months before beginning rehabilitation can begin.
Hudek, 28, who leads the Astros in saves with seven, has been on the disabled list since June 23.
Clearing the bases
The Cincinnati Reds activated catcher Benito Santiago, who had elbow surgery May 25, and sent third baseman Craig Worthington outright to Triple-A Indianapolis… . San Diego’s Terry Pendleton, known for his slow starts, has raised his average from .214 to .313 during the last 28 games, hitting .421 (45-for-107)… . The Houston Astros have scored 96 runs in their last nine games… . Los Angeles Dodger’s right fielder Raul Mondesi got his major league-leading 17th assist when he threw out Atlanta’s Chipper Jones trying to stretch a single into a double in the first inning.