Low attendance casts pall over high-scoring ballgames

The Associated Press

Includes games that concluded before 5:15 p.m. yesterday afternoon.


Blue Jays 7, Athletics 1

TORONTO Pat Hentgen pitched into the ninth inning, and Ed Sprague had his first grand slam and a career-high five RBIs as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Oakland Athletics 7-1 yesterday before the smallest crowd ever at the SkyDome.

The Blue Jays outscored the A's 20-2 in the two-game series, winning 13-1 Wednesday night.

The crowd yesterday was 31,070. The Blues Jays' previous low was 34,139, April 23, 1990.

Hentgen gave up four hits two in the ninth, when the Athletics ended his shutout bid. Apparently feeling no ill effects of the shortened spring training, Hentgen struck out six and walked two in 8 1/3 innings.

Paul Menhart got the last two outs.


Chicago 6, Cincinnati 5

CINCINNATI Jose Hernandez singled home a pair of runs in the top of the 11th inning yesterday afternoon to give the Chicago Cubs a 6-5 victory and two-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.

Cubs catcher Benito Santiago's throwing error set up the winning rally in the 11th off Chuck McElroy (0-1). Rick Wilkins singled and Tuffy Rhodes bunted, but Santiago threw into center field to send the runners to second and third. Hernandez singled up the middle to break the tie.

Tom Edens (1-0) pitched out of a threat in the 10th, and Randy Myers loaded the bases with none out in the 11th and gave up a sacrifice fly before getting his first save.

Expos 2, Pirates 1

PITTSBURGH The strong arm of Pedro Martinez kept Pittsburgh scoreless for eight innings and Shane Andrews drove in both runs in the Montreal Expos' 2-1 victory yesterday.

The crowd was announced as 7,047, but the actual attendance was probably less than half that on a drizzly day. With so few fans in the stands, there were no repeats of the debris-throwing incident that halted the Expos' season-opening 6-2 victory for 17 minutes Wednesday night.

Martinez (1-0) extended his scoreless streak in Pittsburgh to 16 1/3 innings by allowing only two singles in 5 2/3 innings.

Braves 6, Giants 4

ATLANTA David Justice hit a three-run homer in mid

the eighth inning that gave the Atlanta Braves a 6-4 victory over San Francisco yesterday.

Justice's two-out, tie-breaking homer off Dave Burba (0-1) gave the Braves a season-opening, two-game sweep. He connected for his second home run of the year after walks to Jeff Blauser and Fred McGriff, giving Atlanta a 6-3 lead.

Justice went 2-for-4 on the day, giving him five hits, two homers, five RBI and a .625 average through the Braves' first two games.

Mike Stanton (1-0) struck out pinch-hitter Todd Benzinger with the bases loaded to end the eighth. Rookie Brad Clontz pitched the ninth for his first major league save, giving up a run.

Rockies 8, Mets 7

DENVER Walt Weiss drove in the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning, leading the Colorado Rockies past New York 8-7 yesterday and putting them two games over .500 for the first time in their three-year history.

Mets reliever Kevin Lomon (0-1), making his major league debut, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, but couldn't survive a similar predicament in the ninth.

Pinch-hitter Jim Tatum and Mike Kingery both singled with one out in the ninth and Pedro Castellano walked. Lomon retired Jason Bates on a liner to short, but Weiss singled to right-center on a full count.

Steve Reed (1-0) pitched two innings to earn the win.

Padres 13, Astros 1

SAN DIEGO Bip Roberts tied a career high with four hits, Tony Gwynn homered and the San Diego Padres beat the Houston Astros 13-1 yesterday before a crowd of only 7,468.

The Padres came back after losing 10-2 to Houston in the opener. The Astros hurt themselves with three errors that led to five unearned runs.

Andy Ashby (1-0) gave up one run on four hits in five innings. Dave Magadan homered for the Astros' run.

Ashby did not win his first game last season until May 30. He was 0-5 after his first 10 starts.

Phillies 6, Cardinals 2

ST. LOUIS Darren Daulton drove in three runs, and Dave Hollins had three hits and an RBI as Philadelphia beat St. Louis yesterday.

Gregg Jefferies added two hits and scored three times for the Phillies, although he had an interesting day in left field where he's playing for the first time. Jefferies misplayed a warning-track fly ball into a ground-rule RBI double and snared a couple of other line drives at the last second.

Winner David West went five innings, allowing two runs on six hits. Rookie Ricky Bottalico allowed one hit the rest of the way for his first career save.

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