Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lankford Pops Pair as Cardinals Top la Redbirds Hit 3 Hrs in 3-1 Win

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lankford Pops Pair as Cardinals Top la Redbirds Hit 3 Hrs in 3-1 Win

Article excerpt

When they met five days previously in St. Louis, the Cardinals' Alan Benes surrendered three homers (in one inning) and lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers' Chan Ho Park 6-1. But on Friday night, it was Park who tossed three early home runs, two to scalding-hot Ray Lankford, as the Cardinals and Benes beat the Dodgers 3-1 at Dodger Stadium.

Benes (5-5), for the most part, pitched around the seven hits and four walks he surrendered in eight innings before Dennis Eckersley worked the ninth for his 12th save in 13 opportunities. Benes has gone six or more innings in each of his past eight starts and has given up two runs or fewer in six of them.

"I was a little bit bitter about the fashion in which I lost the game in St. Louis," said Benes. "I wanted to get these guys back." Eckersley's save was his fourth against the Dodgers in four tries. The Cardinals have beaten Los Angeles five times in seven meetings. Lankford, who has had five homers in his past four games, homered barely fair to right field in the first and then hit a ball deep into the right center-field bleachers in the fourth. "He's been amazing," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. Lankford, who had extended his hitting streak to 12 games (he is 18 for 43 in that time), was joined in four-base fun by Ron Gant, who crushed his 11th, also in the fourth inning. Benes breezed through three innings and then had trouble in each succeeding inning but the eighth. With one out in the fourth, Mike Piazza walked and steamed all the way to third when a wild pitch bounced high and away from catcher Mike Difelice. But Benes retired Eric Karros on a foul fly to John Mabry at first and fanned Todd Zeile. Mabry, earlier in the fourth, had extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a single. That streak tied Montreal's Mark Grudzielanek for the longest by a National League player this season. Albert Belle of the Chicago White Sox had a 27-game streak snapped this week. Park didn't mess with Lankford in the fifth, walking him with runners at first and third with two out. But, with the bases loaded, Gary Gaetti popped up. Gaetti then made an unwise fielding play in the fifth. …

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