The New York Mets have to keep winning because the Pittsburgh Pirates aren't losing. For the second consecutive night, the Mets

Baseballroundupbeat the Montreal Expos but failed to reduce their three-game deficit to the National League East-leading Pirates because Pittsburgh defeated the Chicago Cubs twice.

The Pirates reduced their magic number to five. Pittsburgh and New York each have seven games left; three of those games are against each other in a season-ending series in Pittsburgh.

"We are holding in there. We have no control of what is happening in Pittsburgh," Mets Manager Bud Harrelson said. "We have to keep winning and hope that they do lose."

David Cone, 12-10, helped eliminate Montreal from the NL-East race by allowing only two hits over eight innings. Montreal moved to within 4 1/2 games of first place last Friday but then suffered six straight defeats.

"We are doing what we have to do. We are putting our blown opportunities and frustration behind us," Cone said. "There is no better medicine than winning in another team's park."

The Mets play Montreal Thursday and then host the Cubs in a three-game weekend series. Then it's on to Pittsburgh.

"New York has to take care of the New York Mets until we get to Pittsburgh," Mets

center fielder Daryl Boston said. "We can't concern ourselves with them too much until we see them."

New York jumped on Expos starter Dennis Martinez, 10-11, for two runs in the first inning. Howard Johnson walked and stole second. Dave Magadan doubled Johnson home for a 1-0 lead.

Pirates 4, Cubs 3

At Pittsburgh, Andy Van Slyke keyed a four-run fifth inning with a two-run triple and Zane Smith scattered seven hits. Smith, 12-8 overall and 6-1 since Pittsburgh obtained him from Montreal last month, pitched his fourth complete game and third in nine starts for Pittsburgh. Kevin Coffman, 0-1, was the loser in his first major league start.

Giants 7, Padres 6

At San Francisco, Matt Williams hit two homers and drove in five runs, taking over the NL RBI lead with 119. Randy O'Neal, 1-0, won with 1 2-3 innings of relief. Steve Bedrosian pitched a scoreless ninth for his 16th save. Dennis Rasmussen, 11-15, gave up both Williams' homers and took the loss.

Cardinals 8, Phillies 1

At Philadelphia, Todd Zeile, Felix Jose and Rod Brewer knocked in two runs apiece to guide St. Louis. Bryn Smith, 9-8, gave up five hits in seven innings. Jose DeJesus, 6-8, suffered the loss.

Reds 5, Braves 2

At Cincinnati, Jose Rijo struck out 11 while scattering eight hits and Eric Davis smashed a two-run homer. The victory, Cincinnati's fifth in six games, reduced the Reds' magic number for clinching the NL West to three. Rijo, 14-7, walked none and retired 11 in a row at one point in notching his seventh complete game.

Astros 10, Dodgers 1

At Houston, Franklin Stubbs drove in a career-high six runs and Jim Deshaies scattered four hits. The loss dropped the Dodgers 4 1-2 games behind Cincinnati in the division. Stubbs had a bases-loaded double and a three-run homer against his former teammates. Deshaies, 7-12, won for the first time since Aug. 25 and improved to 7-0 against Los Angeles in the Astrodome.

American League

Red Sox 7, Indians 2

Boston Red Sox second baseman Jody Reed refuses to believe the headlines.

Boston, which had lost 15 of its previous 21 games, scored five runs in the first inning en route to a 7-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians. The Red Soxmoved to within one-half game of the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays.

"We're in a good situation but it seems that everybody wants us to lose," said Reed, adding that news coverage of the team uses words like: "'folding, crashing and diving.' But we're not quitting, we're not dying."

The Red Sox, which ended a three-game losing streak, had a 6 1-2-game division lead Sept. 4. Thursday, they can gain a tie for first place with a victory over the Tigers in a makeup game in Detroit. Toronto has the day off.

The Red Sox and Blue Jays meet in a three-game series in Boston starting Friday.

"If we go in there (Boston) even with them, and we'll find that out tomorrow, it's in our hands," Toronto Manager Cito Gaston said. "It would have been nice to go in three or four up, but this is where we are."

Luis Rivera capped Boston's burst in the first with a two-run single and starter Dana Kiecker, 8-9, allowed just two hits over six innings.

"I hope there were a lot of young kids watching tonight because they saw a good example of how not to pitch with a big lead," Kiecker said.

Boston ace Roger Clemens, plagued since Sept. 4 by tendinitis in his pitching shoulder, is scheduled to return to the mound in the Toronto series. The right-hander is 20-6 with a 1.98 ERA. Boston is 6-14 since Clemens last pitched, when they were 6 1-2 games ahead of Toronto.

Yankees 4, Orioles 2

At New York, Chuck Cary scattered five hits over 6 2-3 innings and Steve Balboni's solo homer ignited a two-run fourth inning. Cary, 6-11, walked two and fanned seven. Dave Righetti pitched the ninth to earn his 35th save and 223rd of his career, establishing a major-league record for saves by a left-hander. Former Yankee Sparkey Lyle held the old mark of 222.

Mariners 8, Tigers 4

At Detroit, Jay Buhner collected a career-best four hits, including a two-run homer and RBI single, leading Seattle over Detroit. Eric Hanson, 17-9, allowed three earned runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. Bill Swift earned his sixth save. Detroit starter Frank Tanana, 8-8, suffered the loss.

White Sox 3, Twins 1

At Chicago, Greg Hibbard and Bobby Thigpen combined on a four-hitter. Consecutive two-out singles by Carlton Fisk, Frank Thomas, Dan Pasqua and Robin Ventura produced two first-inning runs off Minnesota starter and loser Kevin Tapani, 11-8, who remained winless since July 30. Hibbard improved to 14-9 and Thigpen hurled a scoreless ninth for his major league record 54th save.

Brewers 6, Toronto 0

At Milwaukee, Ron Robinson tossed a seven-hitter to pace Milwaukee to a win over Toronto, shaving the Blue Jays' lead in the American League East to a half game over Boston. Robinson, 12-4, worked his sixth complete game of the season and second career shutout. Loser David Wells, 11-5, allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings.

Athletics 3, Royals 2

At Kansas City, Mo., Bob Welch became the first 26-game winner in the AL in 22 years. Welch, 26-6, became the first AL pitcher to win 26 games in a season since Denny McLain won 31 for the Detroit Tigers in 1968. Dennis Eckersley notched his 45th save in 47 save opportunities. Bret Saberhagen, 5-9, was the loser.

Rangers 6, Angels 2

At Arlington, Texas, Rafael Palmiero's two-run triple and the longest pitching stint of Kenny Rogers' major-league career brought Texas the victory. Rogers, 10-5, won his seventh straight decision while making only his second start of the year. Kirk McCaskill fell to 12-11.