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King Crowns Cincy With Late Homer

Associated Press

National League

Jeff King hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning, his fourth hit of the game, as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied against closer Jeff Brantley for a 6-4 victory Thursday night over Cincinnati ar Riverfront Stadium.

Brantley (3-2) failed to hold a 4-3 lead in the ninth, only his third blown save in 28 chances. Midre Cummings and Nelson Liriano had pinch singles and Jacob Brumfield hit a sacrifice fly.

Brantley walked Orlando Merced to open the 10th and King hit a 2-0 pitch over the left-field wall for his 16th homer and the Pirates’ second victory in nine games.

Dan Plesac (4-3) retired the four batters he faced to get the win, and Dan Miceli got the last two outs for his 18th save.

The Pirates took a 3-1 lead as Frank Viola started strong once again before fading.

The 35-year-old Viola is trying to come back from reconstructive elbow surgery May 17, 1994. He’s gotten two starts with the Reds - both no-decisions - while John Smiley recovers from a pulled groin.

Viola gave up five hits over the first five innings, including Jeff King’s run-scoring single, then faded in the sixth.

Dodgers 6, Mets 5

Los Angeles

Brett Butler scored from third base on center fielder Ryan Thompson’s fielding error in the bottom of the ninth inning as Los Angeles beat New York.

Braves 5, Astros 2

Atlanta

Greg Maddux posted his 13th victory in his last 14 decisions and became the N.L.’s top winner as Atlanta beat Houston. Maddux, who had four strikeouts and one intentional walk, got 21 of the 27 outs on ground balls.

Cubs 12, Marlins 3

Miami

Jose Hernandez hit a grand slam and a solo homer to lead Chicago past Florida. Hernandez’s solo homer in the fourth made it 3-0, but the six-run fifth sparked by his grand slam put the game away.

Phillies 6, Giants 0

San Francisco

Sid Fernandez and two relievers held San Francisco to five hits, and Gregg Jefferies and Mark Whiten hit back-to-back solo homers in the eighth inning as Philadelphia beat the Giants.

Expos 5, Padres 4 (10)

San Diego

Darrin Fletcher hit a solo home run with two outs in the top of the 10th inning to give Montreal a victory over San Diego.

Clearing the bases

Acknowledging the Los Angeles Dodgers have no choice but to accept management’s decision to sign replacement player Mike Busch, Brett Butler ended three days of acrimony by publicly reconciling with Busch. Butler, the outspoken center fielder who was active in union matters during last season’s strike, arrived early at the stadium to talk privately with Busch. Busch got a standing ovation for striking out on three pitches in the ninth inning of an 8-1 loss to the New York Mets on Wednesday. It was his major-league debut after being promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday. He was not in the starting lineup Thursday night against the Mets… . Jeff Bagwell, last year’s N.L. MVP who has been out for seven weeks with a broken hand, was recalled by the Houston Astros from a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues… . The Atlanta Braves, looking to bolster their bullpen for the postseason, acquired reliever Alejandro Pena from the Florida Marlins for a player to be named… . The Pittsburgh Pirates activated Don Slaught off the disabled list and designated Mark Parent for assignment to the minor leagues.

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