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Ailing umpire leaves Game 7

Home plate umpire John McSherry left Game 7 of the National League playoffs Wednesday night after 1{ innings, apparently feeling weak.

McSherry, who appeared pale and was sweating profusely, consulted with NL president Bill White after the Pirates batted in the second, then talked with the rest of his crew. After talking with them for about two minutes, he left the field along with Atlanta Braves trainer Dave Pursley.

Braves spokesman Jim Schultz said McSherry, 48, was taken to Piedmont Hospital as a precautionary measure for further evaluation.

Randy Marsh, who was umpiring at first base, then went to the umpires' dressing room to put on his gear to work home plate. The game resumed after a delay of 11 minutes, with rightfield umpire Ed Montague shifting to first base.

A day at the bench

The Pirates' top two hitters in the series, Lloyd McClendon (.737) and Gary Redus (.438), weren't in the starting lineup for Game 7 against Braves right-hander John Smoltz.

Manager Jim Leyland said it wouldn't be right to deviate from his normal right-lefty platoon after sticking with it all season.

Starting in rightfield in place of McClendon was Alex Cole (.250), and Orlando Merced (.143) replaced Redus at first.

Election returns

While some other Pirates watched Animal House or the AL playoffs on TV in their clubhouse, Andy Van Slyke watched the vice-presidential debate.

Van Slyke said he is "selfishly concerned" about the upcoming election because Democratic candidate Bill Clinton's tax proposal would increase taxes on high-income households _ like Van Slyke's.

Van Slyke will make about $4.2-million next season under the contract extension he signed in April 1991.

"I figured the debate had more impact on my immediate future than the American League (playoffs)," Van Slyke said.

Van Slyke is one of the Pirates' best public-relations tools, but team officials are uneasy over his political pronouncements. The All-Star outfielder also upset some in the front office with his criticism of the National Organization for Women.

Toma-hocker

Paul Braddy, who invented the Braves' foam tomahawks, faces charges filed by the Atlanta police that he sold Braves T-shirts without a license. He was given the citation Oct. 6, the first night of the playoffs.

Braddy said the incident is a misunderstanding.

"I think they'll drop the charges when I get to court," Braddy said.

Doubling up

In Game 6 Tuesday night, David Justice became the fifth player in NL playoff history to hit two homers in a game. The last to do it was Will Clark of San Francisco on Oct. 4, 1989, against Chicago. The playoffs record is three by Bob Robertson of the Pirates in Game 2 against San Francisco in 1971.

Go west

The Pirates were trying to become the first NL East team to reach the World Series since St. Louis in 1987. The NL West has won the last four pennants: Los Angeles (1988), San Francisco (1989), Cincinnati (1990) and the Braves (1991).

_ TIMES WIRES

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