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Eckersley’s Save One For The Book

National League

Alan Benes allowed four hits in eight innings and Dennis Eckersley tied Jeff Reardon for second place on the career saves list Sunday as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 at Busch Stadium.

Benes (7-6) struck out seven and walked four before Eckersley came on for his 14th save this season, tying him with Reardon at 367. Lee Smith of Montreal has 478 saves.

With the score tied 1-1 in the seventh inning, Ray Lankford doubled off reliever Scott Sullivan (1-2) to score Ron Gant, who singled with two outs.

Marlins 2, Expos 0


Edgar Renteria’s two-out single in the ninth inning and rookie Vladimir Guerrero’s throwing error lifted Florida past Montreal.

Rookie Todd Dunwoody opened the Marlins’ ninth inning with a double off Ugueth Urbina (2-5) and went to third on a groundout. After Gary Sheffield was hit by a pitch, Moises Alou walked to load the bases.

Braves 12, Phillies 5


Chipper Jones hit one of Atlanta’s four homers during a nine-run third inning, but later was helped off the field after injuring his left knee in an infield collision as the Braves beat Philadelphia.

The Phillies lost their eighth game in a row.

Jones, Fred McGriff, Michael Tucker and Jeff Blauser homered in Atlanta’s biggest inning since 1989.

Jones, who missed the entire 1994 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee, was injured when first baseman Mike Mordecai ran into him trying to make a play on Rico Brogna’s popup in the eighth inning.

Astros 3, Cubs 1


Mike Hampton shut out Chicago on four singles until needing relief help in the ninth inning, and Houston defeated Chicago.

Jeff Bagwell hit his league-leading 22nd homer, a two-run shot in the first inning. He tied Glenn Davis for second place on Houston’s career list with 166 home runs, trailing only Jimmy Wynn’s 223.

The Cubs were swept in the three-game series and lost their fourth game in a row overall.

Hampton (3-6), who had lost three straight decisions since May 8, struck out four and walked three. Bidding for the second shutout of his career, he left after Ryne Sandberg led off the ninth with a double.

Mets 12, Pirates 9 (10)

New York

Carl Everett hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning and New York, despite another blown save by John Franco, beat Pittsburgh.

The Mets completed their first four-game sweep at Shea Stadium since 1986, also against Pittsburgh. The Pirates lost their season-high sixth in a row, and have dropped eight of nine.

Padres 4, Rockies 2

San Diego

Tony Gwynn’s three-run double with one out in the eighth inning lifted San Diego to its victory over Colorado and a split of its four-game series.

Rookie John Thomson shut out the Padres on just three hits through seven innings, but San Diego broke through in the eighth.

Pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney singled and Rickey Henderson walked to open the inning and chase Thomson, who was facing the Padres for the first time.

Giants 4, Dodgers 2

San Francisco

Barry Bonds hit his 16th homer and Kirk Rueter pitched seven strong innings as San Francisco defeated error-prone Los Angeles for a split of the four-game series.

Bonds, who led off the fourth inning with a shot into the left-center bleachers, had four homers in the series. Eight of his last 16 hits have been home runs.

The Giants scored twice in the seventh to break a 2-2 tie. With runners at first and third with one out, first baseman Eric Karros bobbled a grounder by pinch-hitter Mark Lewis to allow a run to score. It was Karros’ second error of the game. One out later, Bill Mueller added an RBI single.

Stan Javier had an RBI triple for the Giants in the first inning.

Pulsipher to pen

If Bill Pulsipher is recalled from Class AAA Norfolk, he will almost certainly be used in relief, Mets manager Bobby Valentine said.

Valentine said the left-hander was agreeable to the plan.

“Bill has made really fine progress pitching out of the bullpen,” Valentine said. “We don’t feel we want to mess with his progress at this time.”

There is no set time for Pulsipher’s return, and the left-hander did not help himself Sunday. He was the losing pitcher in an 8-4 loss to Ottawa.

Clearing the bases

Chicago right fielder Sammy Sosa declined comment regarding contract negotiations. Reportedly, he is close to agreement on a four-year extension worth about $40 million. … The Cincinnati pitching staff is the only one in the major leagues without a complete game. … Colorado’s Larry Walker, leading the majors with a .415 average, didn’t start because of the flu, but entered the game as a defensive replacement in right field… . Atlanta catcher Javy Lopez missed his third straight game with a sore left knee… . Expos third baseman F.P.

Santangelo extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games… . Houston’s Craig Biggio is hitting .454 (25 for 55) in his last 14 games… . Atlanta catcher Javy Lopez missed his third straight game with a sore left knee.

Tags: baseball