Major Leagues: National League roundup: Sheffield hits No. 500

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 17, 2009

Associated Press
The NL roundup …
NEW YORK ó Gary Sheffield joined the 500-homer club, and Luis Castillo drove in the winning run with a two-out single in the ninth inning that gave the New York Mets a 5-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.
Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer to give Milwaukee a 4-3 lead in the sixth before Sheffield tied it the next inning off Mitch Stetter, who was facing his first batter in relief of starter Dave Bush.
Sheffield, a nine-time All-Star, was on as a pinch hitter and sent a full-count pitch an estimated 385 feet for his first hit of the season.
Sheffield pumped both arms in the air as he approached first and rounded the bases as cameras flashed all over Citi Field. He touched home plate and pointed to the sky with both arms after the pinch-hit shot then hugged on-deck batter Jose Reyes.
“Now that I’m in the club it’s like getting your degree. Nobody can take that away from you,” Sheffield said.
He then received congratulatory hugs and high-fives from his new teammates, who came out of the dugout as fans gave Sheffield an ovation.
The homer, the second as a pinch-hitter, tied the score at 4-all. It was caught by Chris Matcovich, a 22-year-old Mets fan from Suffern, N.Y., wearing a Keith Hernandez jersey.
At 40 years, 143 days, Sheffield is the fourth-oldest player to hit 500 behind Willie McCovey (40 years, 171 days), Eddie Murray (40, 194) and (Ted Williams 41, 291).
Sheffield joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Frank Robinson and Reggie Jackson as the only players with 500 homers and at least 2,500 hits, 1,500 RBIs and 200 stolen bases.
Pirates 3, Braves 0
PITTSBURGH ó Paul Maholm combined with two relievers on a six-hitter and the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Atlanta Braves their fourth straight loss with a 3-0 victory.
Maholm (2-0) pitched seven innings, allowing four hits. The left-hander, who worked around three walks, two hit batters and a balk, lowered his ERA to 0.87 in winning his first home start of the season.
Cubs 8, Cardinals 7
CHICAGO ó All Alfonso Soriano needed to see was a pitch to his liking, and that’s a pretty broad category.
After striking out three times earlier, Soriano golfed Chris Perez’s low slider into the left-field bleachers for a two-run, eighth-inning homer to give the Chicago Cubs an 8-7 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Padres 8, Phillies 7
PHILADELPHIA ó Scott Hairston homered and hit a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning, helping the San Diego Padres overcome a six-run deficit to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-7.
Marlins 3, Nationals 2, 10
WASHINGTON ó Jeremy Hermida hit an RBI infield single in the 10th inning and the Florida Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 for their fifth straight victory.
John Baker and Cody Ross homered for Florida (9-1), which is off to the best start in franchise history.
Reds 2, Astros 1
HOUSTON ó Ramon Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Cincinnati Reds a 2-1 victory.
Jose Valverde (0-1), who missed Thursday’s game with a back strain, walked Edwin Encarnacion with one out in the ninth before Hernandez hit his first homer over the right-field fence.