Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Cardinals Make Philadelphia Pay

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Cardinals Make Philadelphia Pay

Article excerpt

Two days before Christmas and only 24 hours after the new Cardinals' ownership group had agreed to shell out $150 million to buy the team and assorted properties, it dug into the vault and expended $33.1 million on free agents Ron Gant and Andy Benes.

Those latter two investments looked golden Thursday night as Benes, trying to keep up with younger brother Alan, won his first game as a Cardinal. That he did was largely because of Gant's three-hit game, which included a homer and a double, as the Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 at Busch Stadium.

Oh, brother. On Wednesday, little brother Alan Benes struck out 11 and held Montreal to four hits and one run. Thursday night, big brother Andy, whose first two Cardinals starts had been winless but notable, limited Philadelphia to three hits and one run in 7 2/3 innings. Tony Fossas and T.J. Mathews provided relief assistance and Willie McGee added some defensive help. Fossas pitched out of a two-out, two-on spot in the eighth by retiring M ickey Morandini on a checked-swing grounder. Then, after Jim Eisenreich got an infield hit to open the ninth - first baseman Mark Sweeney saved a double - Mathews struck out Todd Zeile on a full-count pitch and catcher Pat Borders threw out Eisenreich trying to steal. Mathews then gained his first save of the season as right fielder McGee made his second brilliant, running catch of the game, taking an extra-base hit away from Mark Whiten. "I've still got a little gas left in my tank," said McGee, who has been bothered by a sore Achilles' heel. "But I know I can't play everyday anymore. My heel feels good; then it deteriorates after a lot of pounding. "When I'm jogging and walking it hurts. When I'm sprinting I'm fine." Cardinals manager Tony La Russa brought in Mathews instead of potential Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley in the ninth because Eckersley has trouble holding runners. The Cardinals figured Eisenreich to run at either 3-1 or 3-2 in the count and "T. …

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