Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Homers Propel Dodgers by Cards

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Homers Propel Dodgers by Cards

Article excerpt

The Cardinals' magic number remained at 11 for clinching the National League Central Division title Saturday night when they fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-5.

Their lead remained 2 1/2 games over the second-place Houston Astros while the Dodgers stayed a half game ahead of San Diego in the National League West.

The Cardinals' run output was just one under what they had achieved for their previous four games. But staff ace Andy Benes surrendered a three-run homer to Greg Gagne in the sixth, and reliever Danny Jackson gave up a two-run homer to Mike Piazza in the seventh. A three-run eighth brought the Cardinals close but that inning ended on a controversial call at the plate when Royce Clayton appeared to have scored the tying run but was called out by umpire Charlie Reliford. Then, with Tony Fossas pitching in the eighth, Billy Ashley hit the Dodgers' third homer of the night and his fourth pinch homer of the season. The Dodgers had two runners on base against Benes in three of the first five innings but scored just one run. In the sixth, they did it again but this time Gagne did not let Benes get away. After fouling off four pitches to stay alive, Gagne clouted his 10th homer into the Dodgers' bullpen to erase a 2-1 Cardinals lead. Benes (17-10) left after six innings, but Jackson failed to keep the game close in the seventh when Piazza clubbed his 34th home run after Todd Hollandsworth had tripled for his third of four hits. Those runs proved costly because the Cardinals rallied for three in the eighth, with the inning ending on a dubious call by Reliford. With one out, John Mabry singled for the third time and Tom Pagnozzi walked. Lefthander Mark Guthrie relieved to get Luis Alicea on a foul fly. But rookie Dmitri Young, three for five as a pinch-hitter, looped a run-scoring single to right. Dodgers third baseman Tim Wallach whiffed on Clayton's grounder, making the score 6-4 with runners at second and third. Ray Lankford, who had struck out three times, got a rare hit against a lefthanded pitcher (.224 average). Young scored but Clayton was called out at home even though television replays indicated he stuck his foot between the legs of catcher Piazza and onto the plate. …

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