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Archive for Friday, May 25, 2001

National League Roundup: Lieber rains on Reds’ record

Chicago hurler endures delays, blanks Cincinnati for first time in 209 games, 3-0

May 25, 2001

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— Not even rain delays bother Jon Lieber, whose one-hitter Thursday gave the Chicago Cubs a 3-0 victory and handed the Cincinnati Reds their first shutout in almost two years.

Gary Matthews Jr. homered and drove in another run to back Lieber, and Sammy Sosa hit an RBI single in his first at-bat after missing two games with tightness in his lower back.

It ended the Reds' streak without a shutout at an NL-record 208 games. The last time Cincinnati failed to score was Oct. 4, 1999, when Al Leiter's two-hitter led the New York Mets to a 5-0 win in the NL wild-card tiebreaker playoff.

Only the New York Yankees (308 games from 1931-33) and the Milwaukee Brewers (212 games, 1978-79) went longer without a shutout.

Lieber (4-3), whose previous best was a two-hit complete game, allowed only a sixth-inning single. He threw 79 pitches, 55 for strikes, and walked one. He struck out two.

It was the first one-hitter against the Reds since Atlanta's John Smoltz on April 30, 1999.

Osvaldo Fernandez (5-3) gave up two runs and six hits in 31/3 innings.

Though the game was delayed twice by rain 55 minutes before the start and then 1 hour, 37 minutes in the bottom of the fourth Lieber was as relaxed as if he was playing catch in the park. He retired his first 13 batters, and needed only 29 pitches for the first four innings.

After the rain delay in the fourth, he threw for about 10 minutes in the bullpen and then came right back where he left off. He even got his first strikeout in the bottom of the fifth.

But his bid for a perfect game ended in the sixth, when Juan Castro singled to right-center.

Lieber didn't let Castro stay on base for long, though. Scott Winchester attempted a sacrifice bunt, and Lieber snagged it and threw hard to Ricky Gutierrez to get Castro. Gutierrez then threw to Eric Young, who got Winchester at first for the double play.

The Cubs gave Lieber all the offense he needed in the first. Sosa, playing even though he's not 100 percent, didn't look like he was hurting as he lined one just to the left of shortstop Donnie Sadler and through the gap for an RBI single.

Matthews led off the fifth with a homer off Winchester, his fourth of the year. The Reds have now given up at least one home run in 14 straight games, a club record.

Matthews also had an RBI single in the second inning.

Padres 3, D'backs 1

San Diego Ryan Klesko walked three times and stole a career-high three bases as San Diego broke out of a tie with Arizona and took sole possession of the NL West lead for the first time since 1998. San Diego, 19-7 following a 7-14 start, stretched its longest winning streak of the season to six as rookie Wascar Serrano (2-1) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings.

Phillies 6, Pirates 5

Philadelphia Bobby Abreu singled to break a seventh-inning tie as Philadelphia completed a three-game sweep. Jimmy Rollins was 4-for-4 with a solo homer and a triple to make him 9-for-13 in the series. Philadelphia overcame a 5-1 deficit in the sixth on Rollins' homer off Jimmy Anderson and RBI singles by Pat Burrell, Johnny Estrada and Kevin Jordan off Josias Manzanillo. Abreu singled off Scott Sauerbeck (0-2) in the seventh.

Cardinals 7, Brewers 4

Milwaukee Mike Matthews (2-0) allowed three hits in six innings for his first career victory as a starter. Matthews, who made his second career start after 27 relief appearances, gave up three runs on a pair of homers by Richie Sexson and struck out a career-high six. Ben Sheets (4-4) gave up five runs, eight hits and four walks in 42/3 innings. Milwaukee lost for the first time in 11 day games at Miller Park and dropped to 18-8 overall at its new stadium.

Mets 11, Marlins 3

New York Kevin Appier (3-5) allowed two runs, four hits and struck out a season-high 10, stopping his four-game losing streak. Darren Bragg went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and Robin Ventura had four RBIs. Florida dropped three fly balls, leading to four unearned runs. A.J. Burnett (2-2) allowed seven runs six earned and seven hits in four-plus innings.

Giants 5, Rockies 1

San Francisco Barry Bonds hit his major league-leading 25th home run of the season as San Francisco beat Colorado. Bonds' solo shot off John Thomson (0-3) in the third inning sailed over the right-field wall into McCovey Cove, where it was retrieved by a kayaker who dove out of his boat. Bonds, who failed to connect Wednesday night to snap his homer streak at six games, has 519 homers, two behind Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 11th place on the career list. Shawn Estes (4-2), activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, allowed just one run on two hits over eight innings. He struck out four and walked one.

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