Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Win 10-8 as Oquendo, Yes, Oquendo, Hits Grand Slam

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Win 10-8 as Oquendo, Yes, Oquendo, Hits Grand Slam

Article excerpt

He hasn't played baseball for 16 years before this spring, but Michael Jordan probably had a better chance of hitting a grand slam than the Cardinals player who did hit one Friday.

Jose Oquendo, who hadn't hit a home run anywhere except in batting practice since 1991, shocked the Chicago White Sox with a four-run homer to highlight a seven-run eighth inning. But maybe you should get used to this kind of game. The Cardinals, whose pitching may not even come close to matching their hitting, still had to hang on before recording a 10-8 victory.

Oquendo, considered a defensive specialist, had five runs batted in, matching his error total for the spring. He committed a two-run throwing error to hurt Rick Sutcliffe in the first when outfielder Mark Whiten yelled "third" as Oquendo was going to throw home. In midstream, he fired the ball into the dugout.

The grand slam was the first for Oquendo at any level. "Against the wind," he said, laughing. The wind actually was blowing out.

"But I only hit one home run a year. I think I wasted it in spring training." Oquendo has just 11 homers in a big-league career that began in 1983 when he says he was 19 years old.

As for his fielding, Oquendo said he wasn't in top form because he hadn't worked out much in the offseason while attempting to let his troublesome left heel heal.

"I usually don't go through the offseason doing nothing," he said. "I'm way out of shape in the field. I'm picking the ball right away but all the strength in my arm is not there.

"I know I'm going to do better later on."

Whiten ripped his fourth homer, second in two days, in the eighth as the Cardinals pounded Dennis Cook, a lefthander who once shut them out twice in a week while he played for Philadelphia several years ago.

While the Cardinals were scoring seven or more runs for the eighth time in 16 games, they gave up that many for the fifth game in succession. Sutcliffe made his fourth start of the spring, allowing five runs (two earned) in five innings. He walked five hitters.

Still, manager Joe Torre has confidence in Sutcliffe, 37. Torre said Baltimore manager Johnny Oates, who had Sutcliffe the last two seasons, told him he was sorry the Orioles didn't bring Sutcliffe back. …

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