The Cincinnati Reds found a way to get their minds off their recent losing ways. They laughed.

The team that was off to the franchise's worst start in the last 25 years and had lost 13 of 17 games laughed before, during and after its 4-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.The jocularity was courtesy of owner Marge Schott's latest idea to help the Reds shake off their losing ways - Slugger, the stuffed gorilla.

Go ahead, laugh. It worked.

Schott called the team into her office before the game and presented them with the puffy primate adorned with a Reds cap. The team took it out for batting practice and used it for target practice. Then Slugger sat on the bench as the Reds won.

"We had a choice between Slugger and some other stuffed animal," said Barry Larkin, who drove in three runs with a homer and a triple. "Hopefully, Slugger can help us get on a winning streak.

"Everybody went up there laughing and came out laughing. So you can interpret that. Slugger got us off the mat today. We'll see how long he keeps us off the mat."

Phillies 12, Cubs 3

Gregg Jefferies returned to the lineup for the first time since April 4 and went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs, and Pete Incaviglia hit two three-run homers in a game for the second time in a week.

Marlins 5, Expos 0

Gary Sheffield drove in four runs with his 18th homer, a double and a groundout and John Burkett got his third win in his last four starts.

Mets 12, Braves 6

Todd Hundley homered and drove in five runs as New York equaled a season high with 16 hits and scored in five of the first six innings.

Astros 16, Rockies 8

John Cangelosi and Sean Berry hit three-run homers in the fourth inning as Houston ended a three-game losing streak. The visiting Rockies set a club record with six errors, three by catcher Jeff Reed, but all but one of the runs were earned as the Astros had 13 hits.

Pirates 3, Dodgers 0

Danny Darwin and two relievers combined on a five-hitter as Jim Leyland registered his 800th victory as Pirates manager.

Cardinals 11, Padres 5

Gary Gaetti's homer snapped a 4-4 tie and started a seven-run St. Louis barrage in the seventh and eighth innings at San Diego.

American League

White Sox 6, Red Sox 4

The Chicago White Sox got a lot of help they really didn't need.

"It's a helpless feeling, but I can't throw the ball for them," Boston manager Kevin Kennedy said after five Red Sox pitchers combined for 10 walks.

Frank Thomas led the walkathon with five in his first five times to the plate, twice intentionally. He finally singled in his last at-bat to fall one short of the major-league record for walks in a game.

The Red Sox paid for it as Chicago posted its fifth straight win and 14th victory in 16 games. Only Chicago's inability to hit in the clutch kept the game close as the White Sox left 16 runners on base, tying the major-league high this season.

Twins 5, Angels 3

In Minneapolis, Paul Molitor's two-run, fifth-inning homer snapped a tie and Frank Rodriguez picked up his second victory since mid-April. The win was Minnesota's fourth straight, its longest streak this season.

Orioles 10, Tigers 7

In Baltimore, Chris Hoiles' homer capped a six-run first inning and Mike Mussina (8-2) won his fifth straight as the Orioles beat hapless Detroit.

Athletics 8, Royals 3

Jose Herrera hit his first major-league homer, in the fifth inning, and Jason Giambi and Mark McGwire added consecutive homers an inning later as Oakland beat visiting Kansas City.

Mariners 10, Indians 7

In Cleveland, closer Jose Mesa walked four batters and committed a throwing error in the ninth inning to blow his first save of the year as Seattle rallied to defeat Cleveland. Mesa (0-1), who blew a save for the first time since Sept. 3, gave up four runs on one hit and four walks without recording an out.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 4

In New York, Mariano Duncan and Wade Boggs hit two-run homers to power the Yankees' victory.

Brewers 6, Rangers 2

In Milwaukee, the Brewers scored five times in the first inning to beat Texas and a rusty Kevin Gross. Ricky Bones (4-8) got the victory, beating Texas for the fourth straight time.