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Around the NL

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001


Cardinals' Ankiel back in control

PHOENIX -- Rick Ankiel was no wild man on Sunday. Wonderful was more like it.

The 21-year-old left-hander, whose post-season control problems put his future in question, pitched five effective innings in his 2001 debut as the St. Louis Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of Arizona 9-4.

Ankiel allowed two runs on three hits, struck out eight and walked three in five-plus innings. He did not throw anything close to a wild pitch.

"It's what we saw last year," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "It's not just his talent. He's just got so much guts. It was a huge game for us and for him."

Ankiel wouldn't talk to reporters afterward.

"I just don't think it's in his best interest to talk about what's going on," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "It would serve no useful purpose for him, so we'll talk for him."

In a remarkable role reversal, Ankiel displayed control and poise, while Randy Johnson struggled in the Diamondbacks' fourth loss in a row.

The NL Cy Young Award winner the past two seasons was pounded for nine runs on 11 hits in 52/3 innings, including home runs by Mike Matheny, Eli Marrero and Edgar Renteria.

The nine runs were the most allowed by Johnson since he gave up 10 in 21/3 innings for Seattle at Toronto on April 10, 1994.

Johnson struck out four, walked two and hit two batters.

Mike Timlin relieved with the bases loaded in the ninth and got one out for his first save.

MARLINS 6, BRAVES 1: Matt Clement is making a good impression on his new team.

Clement allowed four hits in eight innings for his first win with Florida and the host Marlins tied a club record with four home runs.

Clement, obtained last month in a trade with San Diego, had eight strikeouts as the Marlins took two of three from the defending East champions.

Cliff Floyd, Luis Castillo, Mike Redmond and Dave Berg gave Florida its first four-homer game since June 24 against the Cubs.

BREWERS 8, REDS 4: Milwaukee became the first team to open a new ballpark with a sweep since the Braves took three from the Cubs at Turner Field in 1997.

Brewers right-hander Jimmy Haynes gave up three runs on eight hits in 61/3 innings for his first victory at home since July 7.

Haynes got plenty of support from Geoff Jenkins and Richie Sexson, who homered on consecutive pitches in the third and drove in two runs each.

Milwaukee took a 5-0 lead off Osvaldo Fernandez, then survived a four-run burst by the Reds in the seventh, which ended with pinch-hitter Ken Griffey striking out with the bases full.

EXPOS 5, METS 2: Host Montreal got just what it needed out of Chris Peters and Scott Strickland.

Peters pitched five effective innings and Montreal roughed up Al Leiter to complete a three-game sweep.

The Mets loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth against Strickland, but Mike Piazza fouled out. New York stranded 14 runners.

PADRES 11, ROCKIES 3: After dropping its first three games to San Francisco, visiting San Diego looked like a division doormat, which is where it was predicted to be.

But after sweeping Colorado in the next three games, the Padres have taken on a whole new look.

Phil Nevin homered and drove in five runs, and Brian Tollberg pitched eight strong innings to lead the Padres to their first-ever sweep of a three-game series in Denver.

PHILLIES 3, CUBS 1: Robert Person allowed one run in seven innings and helped himself with a three-run double.

Person became the first Phillies pitcher to last through the sixth inning this season.

Philadelphia avoided getting swept by the Cubs at Veterans Stadium for the second straight year. The Cubs' Jon Lieber retired the first 14 hitters before Travis Lee lined a two-out single to left in the fifth.

GIANTS 8, DODGERS 3: Russ Davis homered and drove in four runs, and Benito Santiago and Rich Aurilia also hit home runs. Kirk Rueter, starting on three days' rest for the first time, limited the host Dodgers to six hits and three runs in 61/3 innings for the victory.

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