Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In a Pinch, Perry Delivers as Cards Win

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In a Pinch, Perry Delivers as Cards Win

Article excerpt

Gerald Perry never had endured anything to this extent.

Perry, the Cardinals' career leader in pinch-hits and one of the best in that role in the major leagues the last four years, was two for his last 40. That was before he stepped in against a familiar face, Omar Olivares, in the 11th inning Saturday night.

With a runner at second at one out, Olivares fell behind Perry 3-0. Not many batters hitting .050 for the last two months receive the hit sign in that spot, but Cardinals manager Mike Jorgensen allowed Perry that luxury, and he rewarded that confidence.

Perry bounced a single up the middle to score Tripp Cromer and, after a forceout, Jose Oquendo got his third successive hit, a double off the right-field box-seat railing that accounted for an insurance run as the Cardinals downed the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3.

Rich DeLucia, who is the Cardinals' second-leading winner, gained his fifth win. Tom Henke recorded his 22nd save in as many opportunities.

DeLucia will be the staff's top winner if the Cardinals trade Ken Hill (6-6), a strong possibility.

Cromer opened the 11th with an infield single off the glove of second baseman Mariano Duncan, who bobbled the ball as he went to his left. That allowed Scott Hemond, four for 52, to sacrifice. Olivares seemed to have a play at second but threw to first instead.

"I've seen Omar take that gamble before," Jorgensen said.

Perry then raised his average to .138 with his winning hit.

"I knew I was going to help the team somehow, sometime. But I was beginning to wonder when," said Perry, 34, who acknowledged that he had been looking to see how bad his batting average was because everybody was looking.

"But I don't look long," he said.

Perry said that he enjoyed having the go-ahead to hit on 3-0 but that he wasn't surprised to have that privilege.

"When I looked down there, I was expecting it," he said.

And he saw the pitch he was looking for, too.

"I was expecting fastball all the way, and I got it," he said. "I didn't hit well, but it found the hole.

"I've always felt I could get a hit every at-bat, but when you're struggling, you don't have the same level of confidence as when you're swinging well. But it never got to the point where I felt I would never get a hit again - or a big hit."

Jorgensen, who finished his career as a pinch-hitter with the Cardinals in 1985, put himself in Perry's position before flashing the sign.

"If I was hitting there, I would have hoped I would have the hit sign - and I thought about that," Jorgensen said.

In the ninth inning, the Cardinals seemed to have the right man for the right job. Bernard Gilkey was batting with runners at first and third and one out in a tie game. Gilkey was eight for eight in driving in runners from third with either one out or no outs.

But Gilkey fanned against Heathcliff Slocumb. …

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