Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Watson Takes a Step Back Gets Shelled in Bucs' 9-2 Win over Cardinals

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Watson Takes a Step Back Gets Shelled in Bucs' 9-2 Win over Cardinals

Article excerpt

A week ago, Cardinals pitching coach Mark Riggins was reserved in his praise of Allen Watson's victory over Florida, his first win in two months.

It was a start, Riggins said, but the test would be for the erratic Watson to string together several good performances.

Riggins' hesitance to jump on the bandwagon was proved correct when Watson was yanked back to square one Saturday night. He was pummeled for three home runs in 1 2/3 innings in a 9-2 shelling by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jeff King had a homer off Watson and later unloaded on Jeff Parrett. King drove in five runs, tying his single-game high.

It all started with a foul ball.

Orlando Merced hit a ball six rows deep into the top deck in the first inning. That was only a loud strike, and Merced ultimately walked on a close 3-2 pitch. But King didn't miss. The Pirates' first baseman crushed his eighth homer well into the left-center-field bleachers.

Mark Parent had homered in four of his last eight starts for the Pirates. So when Watson fell behind him 3-0 in the second, manager Jim Leyland turned the Pirates' catcher loose. Make that five homers in nine games and 12 for Parent in just 136 at-bats, a Ruthian clip.

But the Pirates weren't done with their assault on Watson in this inning. The lefthander struck out Carlos Garcia but walked Kevin Young, a .188 hitter who then stole second.

Pitcher Denny Neagle, a .100 batsman, flied deep to the track, providing a barometer for the rest of the inning. Jacob Brumfield doubled over the head of center fielder Ray Lankford to score Young, and Jay Bell blasted his seventh homer into the fourth deck, just inside the foul pole, to make it a four-run inning.

Watson (2-3) was lifted for Rich DeLucia after allowing his sixth, seventh and eighth home runs in 33 2/3 innings.

Since Watson started his Cardinals career with six consecutive wins in 1993, he is 8-15. He never has pitched a complete game in the big leagues.

This was his second start since he emerged from the disabled list after encountering arm problems.

Danny Sheaffer, the most productive Cardinal per hit this season, drove in his 15th and 16th runs with just his 17th hit when he looped a bases-loaded single for two runs in the fourth. …

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