Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Have Big Mac, but Still Lack an Attack without Clutch Hits, Birds Drop 4th in a Row

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Have Big Mac, but Still Lack an Attack without Clutch Hits, Birds Drop 4th in a Row

Article excerpt

* After cross-country trip, Mark McGwire goes 0 for 3 with a walk in Cards debut.

Mark McGwire was on hand but not much else really changed since the last time Philadelphia rookie Garrett Stephenson faced the Cardinals.

In that game, on May 13, Stephenson fanned 12 and gave up just two hits and two runs in seven innings in his major-league debut as the Phillies won. On Friday night, the Cardinals solved him for nine hits but just one run in eight innings as the Phillies, 38 games under .500, won their fourth in a row by beating the Cardinals 4-1 at Veterans Stadium.

The defeat was the fourth in a row for the Cardinals, who got only a walk in four plate appearances from McGwire, who arrived about 90 minutes before the game after a cross-country flight.

But, at least the Cardinals got to eat after the game. Manager Tony La Russa had closed off the food room the last time the Phillies, with Stephenson pitching, had beaten the Cardinals in Philadelphia.

Stephenson's opponent then and Friday was Andy Benes, who couldn't get Mickey Morandini or Gregg Jefferies out. Both had two doubles and Morandini scored two runs. Benes also walked six.

"In my humble opinion, it was a pathetic performance - both offensively and on the mound," said Benes. "Pathetic is a good word for it.

"We had nine hits and we should have scored more than one run. At the same time, I walk six guys. That's ridiculous. Something's got to change."

The Cardinals scored only in the fifth when, with two out, John Mabry doubled and Benes singled him in. Benes, who wanted to make sure the throw came home, was run down between first and second for the final out of the inning.

In the sixth, the Cardinals had a chance to erase their 2-1 deficit when Delino DeShields and Royce Clayton singled. But Phil Plantier bounced into a double play and McGwire, breaking his bat, grounded out.

They missed a "golden chance," as La Russa put it, in the first when DeShields tripled to open the game. Clayton, swinging at a bad 2-0 pitch, fouled out.

"He has more talent than he's hitting," said La Russa.

Plantier then struck out and so did McGwire, who bounced to second and third in his other official at-bats. …

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