Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mcgwire Reaches a Milestone as Marrero Derails Pittsburgh

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mcgwire Reaches a Milestone as Marrero Derails Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

* Redbirds slugger is the first to hit 20 homers in both leagues in the same season.

Rookie catcher Eli Marrero is 52 homers behind Mark McGwire this season, but his second in two games kept the Cardinals on life support in the National League Central Division race Friday night.

McGwire hit his major-league-leading 54th homer and set another record in the sixth inning, but it was Marrero's 11th-inning homer off Pittsburgh reliever Rich Loiselle that gave the Cardinals a 6-5 victory. The 4-hour, 6-minute struggle moved them six games behind the staggering Houston Astros with nine to play. Pittsburgh, however, missed a large chance to cut the Astros' lead to 2 1/2 games despite tagging Cardinals starter Manny Aybar for four homers in five innings, two of the blasts by Turner Ward. Marrero's homer off Louiselle was the first the Pirates righthander had allowed in 23 outings, dating to July 27. McGwire's solo drive to left in the sixth gave him 20 homers as a Cardinal and made him the first player in major-league history to hit 20 or more homers for two teams in the same season. He has hit home runs in 10 consecutive series, with three of them two-game series. McGwire, who had 34 homers for Oakland through July 30, also tied Jimmy Foxx at 106 for the most homers hit in two successive seasons by a righthanded hitter; he is four behind Foxx and Hank Greenberg for the record (58) for homers by a righthanded hitter in a season. "Let's face it - it's history," McGwire said. "But I've said time and time again, I've exceeded anything I ever expected to do in the game of baseball. "Any time you mention my name with Hall of Famers, it blows my mind. But I'd like to soak it in at the end of the year, and then you can really know what I feel like." Babe Ruth's 60 and Roger Maris' 61 homers in a season may appear far off, but who knows? "It depends on how they come after him," manager Tony La Russa said. "The the next three guys they've got starting in this series are not going to say, `Here, hit it.' "But (McGwire) has special talents. So never say never." Foxx hit 58 homers in 1932 and 48 in 1933; McGwire has gone 52-54 to reach 106. He has homered in 26 of the 30 big-league parks in which he has played, missing only Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta and Montreal. He didn't appear this season in Los Angeles, Houston or Cincinnati. McGwire didn't know that no one had hit 20 or more homers for two teams, let alone one team in each league. McGwire, who had two hits in his 26 at-bats in his first week with the Cardinals, said, "I remember sitting in Tony's room when we got back to St. Louis from the (first) trip, and he told me to take a deep breath and relax. He said, `You never know. You might hit 20 home runs.' "I had zero. But it saved my mind. …

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