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Cardinals Pound Rockies, 10-2

Kent Mercker might be the only pitcher in baseball who likes Coors Field.

Mercker pitched six shutout innings to improve to 8-2 career against Colorado, as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Rockies 10-2 Saturday for their third straight victory.

"I didn't know that, but I will take anything positive out of pitching in Denver," said Mercker, who has 2.68 ERA in 26 2-3 innings pitched in Colorado. "My ERA is 10 everywhere else. I probably concentrate more at keeping the ball down here."

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Game Summary

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  • Mercker (4-4) won for only the second time since April 20 and joined Atlanta's John Smoltz as the only pitchers to beat Colorado eight times. He allowed seven hits and three walks, while striking out three.

    Mercker pitched out of two bases-loaded jams and stranded nine Colorado runners.

    David Howard went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. J.D. Drew drove in two runs with a single and a solo home run and Alberto Castillo had three hits and two RBIs to back Mercker.

    Mark McGwire, whose 34 homers are two short of major league leader Sammy Sosa, went 0-for-5.

    "If you would say we would score 10 runs and Mark McGwire would go 0-for-5, I would say you were crazy," St. Louis acting manager Rene Lachemann said. "I don't know what the odds are of that, but they have to be some long odds."

    Darryl Kile (5-10), 1-7 with an 8.50 ERA in his last 11 starts, lasted four innings, giving up seven runs and eight hits.

    Larry Walker went 2-for-4 with a walk to raise his batting average to .367, and Dante Bichette had three doubles as the Rockies lost their third consecutive home game.

    "We made a couple of mental mistakes and Darryl couldn't pitch above it. It wasn't his fault," Colorado manager Jim Leyland said. "We were all in it today and just plain stunk."

    Drew homered to left on the second pitch of the game to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.

    St. Louis benefited from Colorado miscues and scored four runs, three of them unearned, in the second inning.

    Howard hit a one-out RBI single. Willie McGee then scored on Merker's sacrifice bunt when catcher Kirt Manwaring's attempt to get Howard at second bounced off the runner and ended up in left field.

    Howard and Mercker scored with two outs when Walker dropped Joe McEwing's routine fly down the right field line.

    "The errors weren't the problem," Kile said. "I let the leadoff hitter on too often and I paid for it."

    Castillo and Howard drove in runs with singles in the third. The Cardinals scored twice in the seventh off Curtis Leskanic on RBI singles by Howard and Drew.

    "I was told last night I was playing and went back to the hotel and thought about it," Howard said of his first three-hit game of the year. "My approach was to put the ball in play and each time we had runners in scoring position."

    Vinny Castilla had a two-out RBI single in the seventh and pinch-hitter Lenny Harris added an RBI double in the eighth for the Rockies.


  • Walker decided against having an MRI on his sore right knee.
  • Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is in St. Louis with continuing stomach irritation. He will return to his managerial duties when the team plays Monday in San Francisco.
  • Colorado signed left-hander Chuck Crowder, its No. 4 pick from Georgia Tech in the June amateur draft.
  • McGee snapped an 0-for-22 slump with a single in the second.
  • Bichette's three doubles tied a club record.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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