Regardless of whether there will be a baseball strike, Greg Maddux is almost certain to win his third straight Cy Young Award.
He showed why once again Monday night.Maddux (14-6) pitched an eight-hitter for his major-league leading ninth complete game, leading Atlanta past the New York Mets 4-2. He struck out eight and walked one as the Braves won for the fourth time in five games.
"I'm prepared for (a strike) if it comes about," Maddux said. "My thoughts on it change almost every hour. Sometimes I hear it'll last a week, sometimes that we won't play until next spring and sometimes that there won't be any strike at all."
Maddux would also be in line for his third postseason appearance if the Braves win the NL East or earn a wild-card berth. What he might fail to reach is a third straight 20-win season if the strike happens Aug. 12. Maddux leads the majors with 185 innings pitched and a 1.70 ERA.
Fred McGriff hit his 28th homer of the season leading off the second off Mets rookie Jason Jacome (4-2).
Jacome, in his sixth major-league start, gave up two runs on five hits while striking out three and walking one in seven innings.
Reds 4, Giants 3
The Reds hit three solo homers and used a ninth-inning passed ball for their fourth straight victory.
Pinch-runner Jacob Brumfield scored when reliever Steve Frey's pitch bounced off the glove of Giants catcher Kirt Manwaring.
Expos 3, Cardinals 2, 10 innings
Marquis Grissom won it for the Expos with an inside-the-park homer off Rich Rodriguez in the bottom of the 10th.
Grissom's 10th homer hit the glove of Gerald Young in deep center field. Young tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch, but the ball caromed along the wall as Grissom, who never hesitated, beat shortstop Ozzie Smith's relay home.
Cubs 8, Marlins 5
Chuck Crim was victorious in his first start in seven years as the Cubs sent the Marlins to their seventh straight loss.
Rick Wilkins and Rey Sanchez each drove in two runs in a five-run first inning as the Cubs won for the 10th game in 14 games.
Rockies 8, Astros 3
Lance Painter pitched four-hit ball over five innings and Mike Kingery had four hits as the Rockies improved to 17-4 against Houston over the last two seasons.
The Astros' fourth straight loss dropped them 31/2 games behind Cincinnati in the NL Central.
Padres 5, Dodgers 4
Tony Gwynn and Brad Ausmus hit run-scoring doubles and Luis Lopez had three hits for San Diego.
Joey Hamilton (8-5) allowed three runs and eight hits over seven-plus innings, striking out four and walking none. Trevor Hoffman got the final six outs for his 16th save.
Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 2
Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3
Joe Carter hit his 300th homer as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 6-2 in the opener of a doubleheader. Boston came back to win the second game 4-3.
"I plan these things out. You only hit 300 once," said Carter, who had asked the Boston grounds crew to retrieve the ball in the event of a home run.
Carter was presented with the ball between games.
"That was a big one," he said. "You never want to lose track of those."
Carter has said in recent weeks that his goal was to get to 100 RBIs for the sixth straight season. The two-run homer over the Green Monster in left field, an eighth-inning drive off Steve Farr, increased Carter's total to 97.
Yankees 8, Brewers 3
Melido Perez (9-3) gave up five hits in eight innings and Mike Gallego hit a two-run homer, tying the game in the fifth against Bill Wegman (8-4). Paul O'Neill's sacrifice fly scored the go-ahead run for the visiting Yankees.
Perez hit Kevin Seitzer just below the left eye with a pitch in the third. Seitzer left under his own power and was taken to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a sinus fracture.
Indians 6, Tigers 2
Paul Sorrento, Carlos Baerga and Manny Ramirez homered for Cleveland, whch was playing without suspended Albert Belle.
Jason Grimsley (4-1) struck out eight in 72/3 innings to help stop the Indians' three-game losing streak. They pulled within 11/2 games of the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, who were idle.
Royals 4, Athletics 2
Mark Gubicza (7-8) allowed three hits in eight shutout innings as Kansas City extended its winning streak to 10 games, the club's longest in 16 years. Jeff Montgomery got his 24th save after making a two-run throwing error with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Ron Darling (10-10), who had won his six previous decisions, allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings for visiting Oakland.