Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Odd-Man-In Lankford Leads Way Gets a Start, Helps Cards Down Padres

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Odd-Man-In Lankford Leads Way Gets a Start, Helps Cards Down Padres

Article excerpt

Ray Lankford, who has been the odd man out in the Cardinals' four-man outfield system more often than he liked, took a big stride toward gaining steadier work Tuesday night.

Lankford recently sat out six of seven games, even though he was healthy. On Tuesday, he took one of the National League's best pitchers to task.

He doubled in two runs off 13-game winner Andy Benes in the second inning and homered in the fourth as the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 8-4 at steamy Busch Stadium.

Before Tuesday, Lankford had dipped to .256 and had batted only .218 since coming off the disabled list, where he had been assigned after a wrist injury.

"If anybody's unhappy with what's happened this year, it's Ray," winning pitcher Bob Tewksbury said. "But we look at what happened last year, and we know what his talents are. Hopefully, he can get some confidence going and some continuity and have a good last six weeks."

Tewksbury was moved up a day because of an injury to Rheal Cormier and won his 13th game. He struggled through six innings, notably the third, when he gave up all four runs.

"I did a lot of things wrong tonight," Tewksbury said. "But the thing we did right was score more runs than they did."

Benes, who was batted out in the fifth inning of his previous start, was roughed up for five runs in the second inning Tuesday.

Benes had escaped bases-loaded, one-out trouble in the first, when he walked two hitters. And he was in decent shape in the second. He had a runner at third and two outs before he issued his third walk, to Bernard Gilkey.

In rapid succession, Ozzie Smith singled to score one run, Lankford doubled to score two more, and Todd Zeile singled. Lankford would have scored on Zeile's hit, but he fell between third and home, and scrambled back to third. Zeile alertly took second on the play, and he and Lankford came home on Brian Jordan's single.

Benes walked six and struck out one. Zeile said, "It was obvious he didn't have his regular command of his breaking ball."

Tewksbury danced around harm when left fielder Jordan threw out Jeff Gardner at home to end the first inning.

"I'm still learning how to throw," Jordan said. "I've been throwing with my arm, but now I'm using my body. I'll start throwing more runners out."

But Tewksbury squandered nearly all his lead in the third.

Ricky Gutierrez walked with one out and Tony Gwynn singled. Phil Plantier singled to right, but Gutierrez was held at third when Mark Whiten threw a rocket home. Then Tewksbury hit Derek Bell with a pitch, forcing in Gutierrez. Guillermo Velasquez singled in two more runs, and the fourth scored when second baseman Luis Alicea bobbled Archi Cianfrocco's double-play ball and got only a forceout.

"I get a 5-0 lead and I let them back in the game," Tewksbury said. "That means I didn't do my job. …

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