Mark McGwire had a quiet doubleheader, and so did the hitters who faced two relatively unknown pitchers: Jimmy Anderson of Pittsburgh and Garrett Stephenson of St. Louis.
Stephenson held Pittsburgh to a run over seven innings in his first start in 15 months and the Cardinals salvaged a doubleheader split by beating the Pirates 5-1 Friday night.
Stephenson and reliever Rick Croushore struck out 13 in their combined three-hitter, with Croushore striking out five over the final two innings for his third save.
"This was a tough day for the batters," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "There wasn't a whole lot down the middle with nothing on it for either side."
McGwire didn't get the ball out of the infield after hitting his 500th and 501st homers on Thursday, going 1-for-3 in the opener and striking out as a pinch-hitter in the second game. He didn't start the nightcap because the Cardinals are playing seven games in six days on artificial turf.
McGwire never hit the ball in the air against Anderson, grounding out to score a run in the first, walking in the third and hitting a single in the sixth. McGwire also popped out in the ninth against Jose Silva, who pitched three scoreless innings for his first career save.
In the second game, McGwire took a called third strike from Jason Schmidt with two on and two out in the eighth. He is 2-for-12 with no homers against Schmidt (10-8), who allowed three runs on seven hits anstruck out nine in eight innings but was outpitched by Stephenson.
Joe McEwing hit the only home run in the doubleheader, a solo shot in the seventh inning of the second game that gave Stephenson (2-0) a two-run cushion in his first start since May 4, 1998, for Philadelphia.
McEwing, given the previous two nights off after his average dropped to .294, also doubled and scored the first Cardinals run on Ray Lankford's double in the sixth. Lankford and Fernando Tatis added RBI singles in the ninth off Scott Sauerbeck.
"I want to be in there every day, but I don't make out the card," said McEwing, whose average has been above .300 most of the season. "I did feel a little fresher."
Stephenson, recalled from Triple-A Memphis because the Cardinals needed another starter for the doubleheader, yielded three hits and struck out eight over seven innings in his first St. Louis start.
The right-hander made six relief appearances for the Cardinals earlier this season, but his previous 24 career starts came with Baltimore and Philadelphia.
"I wanted to be aggressive all night," Stephenson said. "I didn't want to walk anybody and I didn't. I basically did everything I wanted to do. I'm not a strikeout pitcher, but I feel like I had very good location with three pitches."
Stephenson is 2-0 lifetime as a starter against the Pirates, also beating them on July 20, 1997, while with the Phillies. His father, Richard, once pitched in the Pirates' farm system.
In the opener, the left-handed Anderson (1-0) looked poised and confident in only his second career appearance, scattering six hits as his defense helped him by turning three double plays, one of which he started.
"I was nervous," said Anderson, who was 11-2 at Triple-A Nashville. "I was pretty bad the first couple of pitches, but then Joe McEwing doubled and I settled down. I went from being nervous to being mad."
Anderson also helped himself at the plate, dropping a double down the left-field line about 10 feet short of the fence with one out in the fifth against Jose Jimenez (5-12) for his first major league hit.
"You couldn't ask much more than that," manager Gene Lamont said. "He could have easily been intimidated by McGwire. I know I would have been if I were facing maybe the best home run hitter ever in my first start. But it didn't seem to bother him."
Al Martin walked before Edgar Renteria went deep in the hole at short to make a nice play on Abraham Nunez's grounder, only to throw the ball into right field, scoring Anderson and sending Martin to third and Nunez to second. It was Renteria's 20th error.
"That's a play he makes. It's a costly play. It's a big play in the game," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
Brian Giles, back in the lineup after sitting out Thursday's 6-3 loss to Atlanta with a sore right shoulder, followed with a run-scoring grounder that put the Pirates ahead 2-1.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed