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All factors point to Phils, and still they lose 10th straight

July 4, 1997

The Philadelphia Phillies had their largest crowd of the season at Veterans Stadium. They had ace Curt Schilling on the mound. And they were playing the last-place Chicago Cubs.

All that, and they still lost.

Philadelphia dropped its 10th straight game Thursday night when a ninth-inning rally fell short in a 5-4 defeat. It was the 18th loss in 19 games for the Phillies, whose 23-59 record is the worst in the majors.

``Tonight it was the little things that hurt us once again,″ Phillies manager Terry Francona said. ``Every run we gave up seems like a big run. And when it looks like things are going our way, they just come back to bite us.″

A crowd of 40,213 on Fireworks Night saw Philadelphia extend its worst skid since 1989.

In other NL games, Atlanta trounced Montreal 15-2, Florida beat New York 10-4, Pittsburgh defeated St. Louis 6-4 and Cincinnati downed Houston 4-3.

Schilling (9-8), the Phillies’ only All-Star representative, struck out eight and increased his league-leading total to 159. But rookie Jeremi Gonzalez outpitched him as Cubs won their fourth in a row.

``I didn’t have my best stuff early, and my location was off. I came around, but it was a little too late,″ Schilling said.

Only the Phillies have a poorer record than the Cubs, who are 35-49 and last in the NL Central.

Gonzalez (5-2) won his third straight start and Sammy Sosa drove in two runs.

Mel Rojas earned his eighth save, striking out Darren Daulton with runners on first and third to end the game.

Braves 15, Expos 2

Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez homered on consecutive pitches as Atlanta sent 15 batters to the plate in a nine-run fourth inning at Olympic Stadium.

The Braves won for the eighth time in nine games. They have beaten Montreal five straight times.

John Smoltz (8-7) left after five innings with Atlanta ahead 15-0.

Lopez and Ryan Klesko each had two hits in the fourth. Jones hit a two-run homer and had an RBI groundout as the Braves matched their biggest inning of the season.

Marlins 10, Mets 4

Kurt Abbott hit a pair of two-run doubles as Florida got even with Armando Reynoso at Shea Stadium.

Reynoso (6-2) shut out the Marlins on the road last month, but struggled this time. Pitcher Livan Hernandez hit an RBI single during a four-run first inning, and Jeff Conine hit a two-run homer off Reynoso that made it 8-0 in the second.

Hernandez (2-0) won his first road start in the majors, and sent New York to its fourth straight loss. He was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte after the game in order to give him another start during the All-Star break.

Pirates 6, Cardinals 4

Kevin Young hit a two-run homer and Pittsburgh won its fourth in a row. The victory at Busch Stadium moved the Pirates within one game of NL Central-leading St. Louis.

Fernando Valenzuela (2-11), who leads the majors in losses, is winless in four starts since being traded from San Diego to the Cardinals.

Esteban Loaiza (6-5) helped himself with an RBI single as Pittsburgh ended the Cardinals’ five-game winning streak.

Reds 4, Astros 3

John Smiley beat Houston for the ninth straight time, and Joe Oliver homered and drove in three runs as Cincinnati won at the Astrodome.

Smiley (6-10) has not lost to the Astros since May 8, 1993. He left in the seventh after Sean Berry’s homer pulled Houston within a run.

The Reds took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Deion Sanders was hit by a pitch from Ramon Garcia and scored on a wild pitch, and Oliver hit a two-run single.

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