Chuck Tanner was back in Pittsburgh yesterday and it was almost as if nothing had changed. The Pirates were still playing miserably.
They committed six errors, four of them in a five-run eighth inning that turned a 4-3 Pittsburgh lead into an 8-4 advantage for Tanner's new team, the Atlanta Braves, who won, 9-4. Ted Simmons hit a tie-breaking sacrifice fly, Rafael Ramirez a sacrifice fly and Dale Murphy a two-run single in the rally.
"It really didn't make any difference who we were playing," said Tanner, named the Braves' manager in October four days after the Pirates' new owners ended his nine-year Pittsburgh tenure. "You want to win every day, no matter who the other team is."
The Braves were helped considerably by the slew of errors in a performance reminiscent of the last two seasons, when the Pirates endured last-place finishes.
"I really didn't know how many errors they made, I was too busy making our moves," Tanner said. "I think our aggressive base running led to the runs as much as anything."
Pirates Manager Jim Leyland, who exploded with a 15-minute clubhouse tirade Sunday after a 7-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, was quiet and contemplative after his team lost its fifth in a row.
"I don't have problems with anybody's effort," Leyland said. "The errors we made today were physical ones . . . I'm not going to come in here every other day and yell. I yell and scream when I believe our focus isn't attentioned . . . "
The Pirates gave Rick Rhoden a 4-0 lead on homers by R.J. Reynolds (two on) and Tony Pena, and a 4-3 edge to reliever Bob Walk starting the eighth. Errant throws by shortstop Sammy Khalifa, Walk (2-1) and Khalifa again -- his third error of the game -- set up the five-run Atlanta rally.
It was the Braves' ninth win in 11 games. The Pirates are 5-15 at home.
*Cubs 9, Reds 6: Cincinnati's four-game winning streak ended in Chicago as Manny Trillo doubled home two runs and winning pitcher Dennis Eckersley followed with a home run for a four-run third inning that broke a 5-5 tie.
The Cubs had scored five in the first, climaxed by Jody Davis' three-run homer, off emergency starter Scott Terry. The Reds had answered with five in the second, three on Dave Parker's homer.
Eckersley (2-2) allowed five runs on seven hits in seven innings; he retired the next 13 batters after Parker's 10th homer of the season.
All the Chicago runs came off Terry, given his first major league start because Mario Soto had shoulder stiffness in pregame warmup.
"Those were not ideal conditions to make your first major league start," said Terry of the game, which was played partially in a drizzle, "but I don't have any excuses."
*Padres 9, Expos 6: Kevin McReynolds drove in three runs with a triple and single, Graig Nettles and Steve Garvey homered in the ninth for insurance, and Dave Dravecky won a nine-hitter for San Diego at Montreal.
Dravecky (5-3) allowed only five hits after the second inning in winning his third straight start. Five of the runs off him were unearned as a result of two errors by third baseman Nettles. But Nettles contributed an RBI single as well as his eighth homer.
*Astros 4, Cardinals 1: Houston left-hander Jim Deshaies struck out 10 in seven innings in pitching his first major league victory as Denny Walling drove in two runs and Terry Puhl had three hits for Houston.
Deshaies (1-1) gave up three hits and left after his third walk, to Ozzie Smith leading off the eighth. Frank DiPino made the save.
Later, Deshaies tucked a game ball into the upper corner of his locker and pronounced, "This will go in the Deshaies 'Wall of Fame.' "