Ever-Ready Eversgerd Saves the Day

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Carlyle (Ill.) High product Bryan Eversgerd made his first big-league start Friday night. It was totally unscheduled, but he got his first major-league victory as the Cardinals beat the Florida Marlins 3-2.

Eversgerd was hunkering down for a long night in the bullpen when his routine was interrupted before the bottom of the first inning. Cardinals lefthander Rheal Cormier suffered an injury to his back and Eversgerd was rushed into service.

Eversgerd pitched five scoreless innings and the Cardinals, though they squandered all but one of the 10 walks issued to them by Florida pitchers, held on for the victory.

This time, manager Joe Torre had to use only four relievers - five, if you count Eversgerd - and Mike Perez gained his eighth save.

Shortstop Ozzie Smith, burning to recapture the Gold Glove after his 13-year reign ended last year, had a save of his own. He threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the eighth inning.

Earlier this month, Cormier suffered a shoulder injury pitching an inning in a game that never counted because it was rained out. Friday night, he was hurt warming up before the start of the first inning in a game he technically appeared in, but didn't throw a pitch in.

Cormier, while trying to throw a curveball, suffered a muscle strain in the upper left side of his back, between the spine and the shoulder blade.

Eversgerd, whose last previous start was aborted after two innings in St. Petersburg in 1992, was only brilliant Friday night. The lefthanded rookie walked nobody, struck out four and allowed four harmless singles.

"I just tried to go as hard as I could, as long as I could," said Eversgerd, who was denied his first big-league win Sunday when the Cardinals bullpen couldn't close out the Expos. "Joe Torre told me, `Don't try to be a hero. Just give us what you can.' "

Torre doesn't intend to be sending Eversgerd back to Louisville soon. "What a valiant effort he put forth," Torre said. "Wait until his friends at Louisville pick up the paper and see that one."

The Cardinals scored in the third as Brian Jordan got his first hit of the season with men in scoring position.

With two out, Todd Zeile singled to left and Mark Whiten hit the first of his two opposite-field doubles to left. Jordan then singled to left for his first hit in 25 at-bats with men in scoring position. Whiten would have been out by 30 feet at the plate on Jeff Conine's throw home, so he retreated to third. …