Giants complete first four-game sweep of Mets since 1962

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The Independent Online

Bill Mueller's bases-loaded triple highlighted a raucous, six-run eighth inning and the San Francisco Giants completed a four-game sweep of the New York Mets, winning 7-2 and spoiling Mike Piazza's return.

The big inning also featured a bench-clearing scuffle, but no punches were thrown. San Francisco finished off its first four-game sweep of the Mets since 1962.

Rick Reed (3-1) overwhelmed the Giants in the first seven innings, allowing one run and three hits.

Reed gave up the tying run in the eighth and left with runners at first and second. Dennis Cook relieved and, before throwing a pitch, balked.

On his second pitch, he hit Marvin Benard in the shoulder and the two had to be separated. Both benches emptied and there was some pushing and shoving. Cook and Benard again exchanged words when Cook was taken out of the game before throwing another pitch.

Mueller then tripled off Armando Benitez to clear the bases. One out later, Jeff Kent hit a two-run homer. Felix Rodriguez (2-0) was the winner.

Piazza celebrated his return to the starting lineup with a two-run homer and two other hits. He had missed five straight starts because of a bruised right wrist and a hyperextended right elbow.


Phillies 14, Reds 1 In Philadelphia, Doug Glanville went 5-for-5 and Bobby Abreu hit three doubles as the Philadelphia Phillies, the worst offensive team in the majors, broke loose and beat the Cincinnati Reds.

The Phillies began the first inning with an NL record-tying four straight doubles in taking a 6-0 lead. They finished with 21 hits, with Mike Lieberthal and Rob Ducey each homering.

Philadelphia, which started the game with a .230 batting average and a league-low 90 runs, knocked out Pete Harnisch (0-4) in the first inning. The Phillies won their second in a row after losing nine of 10.

Robert Person (2-1) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. He struck out seven.

The Phillies took a 3-0 lead when Glanville, Ducey, Abreu and Scott Rolen matched a league record for consecutive doubles in an inning. Glanville added an RBI double in the first inning.

Abreu doubled in each of the first three innings and had two RBIs. Lieberthal had three hits and drove in four runs and Ducey drove in three.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 0 In St. Louis, Jim Edmonds and Mark McGwire homered on consecutive pitches and Ray Lankford also connected, leading Garrett Stephenson and the St. Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cardinals avoided a three-game sweep and won for the seventh time in 10 games.

Stephenson (4-0) had his best outing by far, allowing three hits in 7 2-3 innings. Mike James completed the combined four-hitter.

Lankford's two-run shot in the fourth off Francisco Cordova (1-3) was the 100th of his career at Busch Stadium, where he's the all-time leader. Edmonds and McGwire each hit their 10th on consecutive pitches in the sixth.

Astros 6, Cubs 2 In Chicago, Jeff Bagwell hit a three-run double and the Houston Astros spoiled Ismael Valdes' debut for the Chicago Cubs.

Richard Hidalgo hit a solo homer for the Astros, who are 8-7 on the road and 3-9 at new Enron Field.

Sammy Sosa and Joe Girardi homered for the Cubs.

Valdes, acquired with Eric Young from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a December trade, had been sidelined since March 20 because of tendinitis in his right shoulder.

Cubs manager Don Baylor wanted to limit Valdes (0-1) to 75-80 pitches, but the right-hander threw 93 in 4 2-3 innings. Valdes gave up four runs on four hits and three walks.

Valdes left in the fifth with the score tied at 1. He was pulled after Scott Elarton (1-0) singled and Craig Biggio and Roger Cedeno singled to load the bases with two outs.

Mark Guthrie relieved and Bagwell hit the first pitch off the base of the left-field wall to clear the bases.

Diamondbacks 6, Brewers 2 In Milwaukee, Erubiel Durazo hit a three-run homer and Jay Bell added a solo shot to back Armando Reynoso as Arizona beat Milwaukee.

Reynoso (2-3) did not allow a hit until Luis Lopez led off the sixth inning with a single to left. In 5 1-3 innings, he allowed two hits and two runs. He struck out three and walked two.

Byung-Hyun Kim got the final out for his second save.

Everett Stull (1-3) was the loser.