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Mac Hits 36th In Cards Victory


Mark McGwire hit his 36th home run -- matching the most by any St. Louis player in a full season in 49 years -- and the Cardinals snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the Minnesota Twins Saturday night.

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  • failing to hit one out in his first seven plate appearances of the series, McGwire drove a 2-2 pitch from reliever Mike Trombley 431 feet to left-center field for a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

    That delighted the crowd of 35,002, most of whom came to see McGwire go deep and many of whom booed when he walked in the Cardinals' three-run sixth. Many also started filing for the exits after his homer, satisfied that they had seen a small slice of history in the making.

    McGwire, who has more homers before July 1 than any player in major league history, needs 26 homers in the final 83 games to break Roger Maris' record of 61 set in 1961.

    McGwire's total is the highest in a season for the Cardinals since Stan Musial hit 36 in 1949. The Cardinals' record is 43 by Johnny Mize in 1940.

    Brian Hunter also homered and drove in two runs for the Cardinals. Gary Gaetti, the last active member of Minnesota's 1987 World Series championship team, added three hits and scored twice, including the go-ahead run in the sixth.

    Todd Stottlemyre (9-5) pitched a five-hitter for his third complete game of the season. He allowed leadoff singles in the first three innings, a unearned run in the fifth and Scott Stahoviak's solo homer in the seventh.

    The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the third on Hunter's 396-foot solo homer to left-center field. Center fielder Otis Nixon made a leaping play on the ball at the fence, but the ball glanced off his glove and fell into the stands, giving Hunter his fourth homer of the season.

    The Twins tied it in the fifth. With Todd Walker at second base and one out, Stahoviak hit a routine fly ball to center field. Brian Jordan appeared to make the catch and then drop the ball taking it from his glove to make a throw.

    But second base umpire Al Clark ruled Jordan dropped the fly, giving the Twins runners at the corners with one out. Walker scored on Stottlemyre's wild pitch.

    The Cardinals came back right away against Eric Milton (4-7) with three in the sixth to take the lead for good.

    After McGwire walked to a cascade of boos, Jordan singled home Gaetti. Tom Pagnozzi added an RBI double and Hunter made it 4-1 with a run-scoring groundout.

    Notes

  • The Twins put pitcher Mike Morgan on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained ribcage muscle on his left side. Morgan, who spent time on the DL with the same injury last season, was injured in the third inning of Friday night's game. The Twins recalled infielder Jon Shave to fill Morgan's roster spot.
  • Twins third baseman Ron Coomer is responding well to a cortisone shot in his ailing neck and is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday.
  • Hunter was 8-for-37 (.216) this season against left-handers until his homer off Milton.
  • St. Louis' three errors were one short of the season-high four it had at Philadelphia on May 19.
  • The Twins are 3-28 when the opponent scores first.

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