Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Power Past Pirates

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Power Past Pirates

Article excerpt

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 in a 4-hour, 6-minute struggle that moved them 6 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 be tantalizingly far off, but who knows? "It depends on how they come after him," manager Tony La Russa said. …

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