Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Muscle-Bound Cards Pump Up in Steel City

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Muscle-Bound Cards Pump Up in Steel City

Article excerpt

For a crew of waterlogged St. Louisans, it was a pleasant way to start a proverbial crucial trip.

Come ashore in the Steel City, a town of three mighty rivers, all of them tucked obediently into their beds. Cross several bridges when you come to them, never once having to approach by Coast Guard johnboat.

Muscle up on the job, hoisting big sticks instead of sandbags.

And so it was that the Big Redbird Machine surfaced Monday night at Three Rivers Stadium. The Cardinals flexed their muscles, pumping up and pumping out two home runs in beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3.

Given the family gene pool, this is an unusually robust strain of Cardinals. It's been three decades since the National League - not to mention Hans and Franz of "Saturday Night Live" pectoral fame - saw the Cardinals molt into such homering pigeons. They hit town with 79 homers. Only two teams in the league were more anemic, the expansion Florida Marlins and the expansion-like Pirates.

But the Cardinals were on pace for 116 homers. The last time they hacked that many was in 1963, with a whopping 128.

Down 2-nil in the second inning to nemesis Bob Walk, the Cardinals tied the game on homers by Tom Pagnozzi and Bernard Gilkey. It was almost enough to make manager Joe Torre feel like Earl Weaver, the high priest of the three-run homer.

Torre was happy to settle for a couple of solo shots.

"Isn't that great?" he asked. "And what about Gilkey? That's one thing you couldn't have predicted before the season. And he's hitting them deep."

Pagnozzi commenced hostilities against Walk by smacking an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left-center.

Rookie pitcher Allen Watson whacked the next pitch almost to the warning track in dead center.

Gilkey then hacked the next pitch over the left-field fence. Had Watson pulled his punch, the Cardinals would have had back-to-back-to-back homers on consecutive pitches.

"I was thinking about that," Watson said. "I told (Bob) Tewksbury I got jammed."

Not everyone was impressed with Watson, who later singled. …

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