Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Draw a Blank vs. Mets Jones Mystifies 'Birds as New York Hits .500

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Draw a Blank vs. Mets Jones Mystifies 'Birds as New York Hits .500

Article excerpt

Once upon a time, the New York Mets featured a righthanded pitcher from Fresno (Calif.) High School who achieved a modicum of success in his major-league career - more than 300 victories worth.

Now, after Tom Seaver comes another Fresno High graduate, Bobby Jones, who is tied for the National League lead in victories. Jones, matching Atlanta's Denny Neagle, gained his sixth win Saturday night at Busch Stadium, outdueling the Cardinals' Alan Benes 2-0 before a large paid crowd of 43,747. Jones gave up just two hits in eight innings before giving way to John Franco, who gained his ninth save.

The Mets, beating the Cardinals for the fourth time in five meetings this season, finally reached the .500 mark on their fourth try. They haven't been at .500 this late in the season since June 3, 1994. The Cardinals faded a bit farther from the break-even point at 16-19. In nearly half of their games - 17 - the Cardinals have scored two runs or fewer. They are 3-14 in those games and Benes has been victimized twice in succession, having lost to Neagle 2-1 Monday night. Despite their low run output, the Cardinals hadn't been shut out until Saturday, leaving Baltimore as the only big-league team to have avoided being blanked. "Bobby Jones and the New York Mets were better than we were today," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. Gary Gaetti, hitless for the night, said Jones showed him a good sinker. "He throws hard just when he wants to," said Gaetti. "We didn't have much going on tonight. We had a couple of chances but they weren't really good chances." Royce Clayton, who had one of the two Cardinals hits off Jones, compared the 27-year-old righthander to Atlanta's Greg Maddux in his ability to spot his pitches and in the poise he displays. "He's becoming a great pitcher," said Clayton, "and with his mechanics and the way he goes about his job, he's going to get better. He definitely has a clue out there." Jones had had little success against the Cardinals. He was 1-3 with a 6.75 earned-run average in six previous starts against them. Benes hadn't done much better against the Mets, featuring a 6. …

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