The National League was full of surprises.

Of course, the biggest one came when Darryl Strawberry busted out of a 1-for-23 slump and hit a home run at Shea Stadium in his first game against the New York Mets since signing a five-year, $20.25 million contract with Los Angeles.San Francisco's battered pitching staff gave up only three runs in 15 innings, but the Giants lost 3-2 to Montreal as sluggers Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell and Matt Williams went 2-for-15 combined.

But the biggest shocker of them all came in Atlanta, where little Rafael Belliard had five RBIs in the Braves' 9-2 victory over St. Louis.

"I never thought about the cycle," said Belliard, who had a single, double and triple. "Everybody has to have a good day, and tonight was my good night."

It was also a very good night for Darryl. Strawberry's return to New York was, well, dramatic to say the least.

Strawberry shut up the fans who booed him for eight seasons and thrilled those that cheered him, hitting a two-run homer in his return Tuesday night. But he grounded out to end the game with the tying run at third base as New York held on to beat Los Angeles 6-5.

After scoring two runs in the ninth off reliever John Franco, the Dodgers had runners on first and third when Strawberry hit a slow grounder to rookie third baseman Chris Donnels for the final out.

"I came close," Strawberry said. "Yeah, it was good for me. I just wish I could've gotten a hit the last time up."

From the start, it was Darryl's day, one that had been on his mind since he left for LA. He came into New York in a horrible slump and left after going 1-for-4, including his towering home run off winner Frank Viola in the sixth.

As always, the crowd of 47,744 spent the game chanting "Dar-ryl! Dar-ryl!" Extra security was added along the right-field line, but the only problem came in the eighth inning when a few strawberries were tossed at him in the on-deck circle.

Strawberry, who homered against the Mets the first time he faced them in spring training, again demonstrated a flair for the dramatic. Just like the last star No. 44 to return to New York - Reggie Jackson homered in his first game back at Yankee Stadium in 1982 - Strawberry did it, too.

Braves 9, Cardinals 2

Belliard, who had never driven in more than three runs in a game, broke a 2-2 tie against Bryn Smith (3-1) with his double in the fourth inning and capped a five-run fifth with his bases-loaded triple. He also singled in the second.

Steve Avery (3-1) gave up two runs and seven hits in eight innings for the victory. Jeff Parrett got the last three outs.

Expos 3, Giants 2

Marquis Grissom hit a home run with one out in the 15th inning to lift Montreal over visiting San Francisco, sending the Giants to their seventh loss in eight games.

Grissom's fourth homer of the season came off Trevor Wilson (0-3), the fifth San Francisco pitcher. Scott Ruskin (1-0) worked two innings for the victory.

Cubs 4, Astros 3

Bob Scanlan gave up one run over seven innings in his major league debut and George Bell hit a three-run homer off Xavier Hernandez (0-2) in the first inning as Chicago beat Houston at the Astrodome.

Scanlan, called up from the Cubs' Iowa farm club April 30 when Mike Harkey was injured, benefited from Bell's second homer in as many nights at the Astrodome.

Pirates 7, Reds 2

Pitcher Randy Tomlin, a career .032 hitter, singled home two runs in a five-run fourth inning off Chris Hammond (3-1) as Pittsburgh beat visiting Cincinnati.

It was the Pirates' second straight victory over the defending champions in the series, and Pittsburgh's 12th win in their last 16 games.

Padres 4, Phillies 2

In Philadelphia's first game since Lenny Dykstra and Darren Daulton were injured in a car crash, the Phillies started a nine-game road trip by losing to San Diego.

Bruce Hurst improved his record to 4-0 with help from three relievers and Fred McGriff extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with a run-scoring single.