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Mac Hits No. 48 In Cards Loss

It was a big day for Mike Lieberthal, who hit a game-winning homer, set a career high for RBIs in a season and announced he'd soon have a new multiyear contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I'm pretty close to making a deal," Lieberthal said after his three-run shot beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 Wednesday night. "Hopefully it will get done soon."

Ron Gant and Scott Rolen singled before Lieberthal hit his 25th home run, off Rick Croushore (3-3), to surpass his previous career best of 77 RBIs in 1997. All but five of the homers have come on the road.

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  • "I don't know why I'm better on the road," Lieberthal said. "Maybe the mound is closer at home."

    Scott Aldred (1-0) worked two scoreless innings and Wayne Gomes finished for his 18th save in 22 chances as the Phillies avoided a three-game sweep. The Phillies came back after manager Terry Francona was ejected for arguing a double-play call to end the top of the sixth.

    "This doesn't mean we'll win the pennant, but it was a great win because we didn't give up when we got down," Francona said.

    Francona said he spent most of the late innings between the clubhouse and the dugout, because good things kept happening when he was there.

    "I heard a loud noise, and I knew were in the wrong town," Francona said. "I've never seen our dugout move that much for a routine popup, so I knew something good happened."

    Croushore said h hung a slider.

    "You make a bad pitch, especially against a guy like Lieberthal and the year he's having, what can you say?" Croushore said. "I'm not hanging my head."

    Mark McGwire hit his 48th home run for St. Louis to move one ahead of Sammy Sosa for the major league lead. It was the 505th career homer for McGwire, who moved past Eddie Murray into 15th place on the all-time list.

    Kent Bottenfield, who left after five innings leading 5-2, missed a chance to tie 17-game winner Pedro Martinez for the major league lead in victories.

    McGwire's two-run shot in the first inning off Chad Ogea was his second homer in two career at-bats against the right-hander. McGwire had four homers and 12 RBIs in St. Louis' six-game homestand.

    Bottenfield gave up nine hits but only two runs to the Phillies, who stranded eight runners against him and 14 for the game.

    "Bottenfield really labored," manager Tony La Russa said. "Everybody we had struggled some."

    The Phillies had three singles, a walk and a hit batter in the first but got only one run on an RBI single by Bobby Abreu, leaving the bases full. They scored one run again in the fourth on two hits, a walk and an error, settling for a sacrifice fly by Doug Glanville.

    Ogea, who has allowed an NL-leading 32 homers, gave up three in 1 1-3 innings. Lankford followed McGwire's homer with his 15th and Edgar Renteria homered with one out in the second.

    "This is not what I wanted," Ogea said. "I didn't have anything."

    Ogea was working on three days' rest ahead of Paul Byrd, sidelined with a back injury. Results of an MRI released Wednesday showed no serious injury and Byrd is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday.


  • McGwire drew his 100th walk in the second inning. He's reached triple figures the last four years and five times overall.
  • Lankford has 181 homers, tying him with Jim Bottomley for fourth on the Cardinals' career list.
  • Glanville's sacrifice fly gave the Phillies six 60-RBI men. No other NL team has more than four.
  • The Phillies stranded 35 runners in the three-game series.
  • Lieberthal went 3-for-4.

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