Mike Aldrete's bases-loaded grounder in the eighth inning yesterday in San Francisco gave the Giants a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros in the second game of a doubleheader as the Giants swept past the Astros into first place in the National League West.
The Giants won the opener, 4-2, as Chris Brown drove in two runs with a double and a single and Mike Krukow (9-4) pitched a seven-hitter.
A crowd of 47,030, Candlestick Park's largest since April 9, 1985, watched the Giants sweep the four-game series -- in which Houston scored only six runs -- and take a 1 1/2-game lead over the Astros. San Francisco hasn't been in first place this far into a season since 1978.
"It seemed like a World Series," said Giants Manager Roger Craig. "These guys had their adrenalin flowing. They're high as a kite. They feel they can beat anybody now."
After the Astros tied the nightcap in the top of the eighth on Billy Hatcher's two-run single, Rob Thompson drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half from relief ace Dave Smith (1-4), who replaced starter Mike Scott at the start of the inning.
One out later, Candy Maldonado singled Thompson to second and Chris Brown walked to load the bases. Aldrete then forced Brown at second as Thompson scored the winning run.
Juan Berenguer (1-0), who allowed Hatcher's game-tying hit, was the winner. Chuck Hensley got the final two outs for his first major league save.
Mark Davis, making his first start of the season after 30 relief appearances, shut out the Astros on two hits over the first six innings.
Said Astros Manager Hal Lanier: "We still have a long way to go. It's who is in first place in October that matters."
Padres 5, Dodgers 4: Tim Flannery hit a tie-breaking home run with two out in the top of the ninth inning in Los Angeles as San Diego completed a three-game sweep of one-run victories.
The homer off reliever Tom Niedenfuer (5-3) landed just inside the right field foul pole.
Craig Lefferts (5-2) held the Dodgers to two hits over the final 3 2/3 innings for the victory. The Padres, who erased a 5-0 deficit Saturday night to take an 8-7 victory in 14 innings, came back from a 4-0 hole this time.
The game marked the debut of Los Angeles shortstop Craig Shipley, the first Australian-born player to appear in a major league game. The 22-year-old native of Parramatta, New South Wales, was called up from Albuquerque to replace infielder Dave Anderson, who fractured the small finger of his right hand Saturday night.
Reds 5, Braves 2: Eric Davis scored the game's first run on an error in the sixth inning and added a two-run homer in the seventh to lead Cincinnati over visiting Atlanta.
John Denny (5-6) shut out the Braves until the eighth, when they scored two runs. John Franco relieved in the inning and Ron Robinson pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Expos 2, Pirates 1: Vance Law's pinch-hit single in the seventh inning scored Herm Winningham with the go-ahead run in Montreal.
Winner Joe Hesketh (5-4) pitched seven innings and allowed nine hits, including Bill Almon's leadoff homer in the first inning, the first of Almon's four hits.
Jeff Reardon pitched the final two innings for his 17th save.
Mets 4, Cubs 2: New York won at home as Len Dykstra and George Foster homered in support of Ron Darling's five-hit pitching against Chicago.
Darling (8-2) struck out five and did not allow a walk in his second complete game-victory of the season. Rick Sutcliffe (4-9) was charged with all four Mets runs in his 6 1/3 innings.
Cardinals 7, Phillies 4: Terry Pendleton's three-run double capped a five-run sixth inning for visiting St. Louis, helping rookie Greg Mathews gain his third straight victory.
Mathews (4-1), recalled from Louisville of the American Association May 30, allowed seven hits and struck out eight in 7 2/3 innings before Todd Worrell came on for his 13th save