Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

One Swing by Jordan Does Job Down to Last Strike, Cards Stun Cincinnati

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

One Swing by Jordan Does Job Down to Last Strike, Cards Stun Cincinnati

Article excerpt

The difference between the good teams and bad teams in baseball is not a pronounced one on a nightly basis. More often than not, the margin is only one run.

For instance, in the Cardinals' first 107 games, 60 percent of them losses, they have been outscored by 95 runs, or nearly one a game.

The Cardinals game against Cincinnati on Monday night at Busch Stadium seemed as if it would follow a typical haves vs. have-nots format. The Reds, who had the National League's best record, jumped to a big lead and then fought off several spirited Cardinals rallies. But Brian Jordan, who has shown a definite flair for the theatrical, changed the script.

The Cardinals outfielder clouted a 1-2 hanging slider from Mike Jackson for a three-run, two-out homer in the ninth inning as the Cardinals won 8-6 in front of 20,201. (Ticket sales totaled 20,669.)

Jordan's 17th homer came after a one-out double by Bernard Gilkey and Jackson's walk on a full-count pitch to Ray Lankford. Cincinnati closer Jeff Brantley, who had saved 24 games in 26 tries, was unavailable because of back spasms.

The Reds' loss was only their second in 57 games in which they led after eight innings. Cincinnati had beaten the Cardinals five times in the teams' first six meetings. But over the past four games, the Cardinals have won three from the two best teams in the league - Cincinnati and Atlanta.

Cardinals manager Mike Jorgensen, getting his first look at both contenders, wasn't ready to commit to a favorite yet. "Let's wait a couple of more days," he said.

"I don't know if I'll answer that question other than to say that it will be a hell of a playoff."

Jackson (5-1) threw Jordan all sliders, his best pitch, in the final at-bat. "Obviously it wasn't good enough," Jackson said. "He hit it out of the ballpark."

Cincinnati manager Davey Johnson said, "He hung it. He's got a good fastball but he can overthrow his slider occasionally. A hanging slider out over the middle of the plate . . . you're going to get beat no matter who you're playing. Your chances of winning the game with the cleanup hitter up are not real good."

Jordan has batted cleanup only 13 times. But he relishes that responsibility.

"The bottom line is what you do in the crucial situations," said Jordan, who is well on his way to his goal of 25 home runs and 25 steals. "I like to be in them, whether I succeed or don't succeed.

"I love challenges."

This one was particularly stiff because Jordan recalled having only one hit off Jackson previously. "Any guy who gets me out . . . I love to redeem myself," Jordan said.

Reggie Sanders, who might be the most valuable player in the National League, continued his assault on the Cardinals in a four-run third inning. Sanders, who already had a .409 average, two homers and 12 runs batted in against the Cardinals in six games, whacked a two-run homer off Mark Petkovsek, breaking a scoreless tie. …

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