Dwight Gooden relied on his curve in a five-hitter that beat the Cardinals, 9-0, last night in St. Louis and provided the New York Mets' seventh straight victory.

"They think fastballs so I decided to go with curveballs," Gooden (3-0) said. "I had a pretty good one." He struck out five and walked none.

"I think it was the most curveballs he has thrown in a big-league game," his manager, Dave Johnson, said.

Ray Knight homered twice and has six of his team's 11 homers this season. He hit six last season.

The Cardinals have lost five straight and have been shut out in three of those games.

*Expos 4, Cubs 2: Montreal's Hubie Brooks and Tim Wallach won the game in Chicago when they opened the 11th inning with home runs off Matt Keough (0-1).

"I don't know what I hit," said Brooks, who was hitless with three strikeouts in his first four at-bats. "I wasn't seeing the ball that well."

*Padres 9, Giants 8: Pitcher Craig Lefferts' first major league home run ended the game in San Diego in the 12th inning.

Lefferts (2-0) homered one out after Graig Nettles led off with a game-tying homer.

Nettles' homer was the 369th of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner for 30th on the all-time list.

*Phillies 6, Pirates 3: Kevin Gross (1-2) took a 7.04 ERA into the game in Pittsburgh and thought he pitched "kind of ugly." But his Philadelphia teammates got him five runs in the first three innings off Rick Reuschel (2-2).

Johnny Ray has hit safely in the Pirates' 12 games this season.

*Astros 3, Reds 1: Nolan Ryan (3-2) outpitched Tom Browning (0-2) in Houston, striking out seven. He struck out Browning with the bases loaded in the second and Dave Concepcion with two on in the sixth.

"That's probably as much as I've struggled for an entire game since I can remember," Ryan said.

*Braves 4, Dodgers 1: Claudell Washington and Dale Murphy homered to support Joe Johnson's four-hitter in Los Angeles.