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Mac Homerless But Cards Win


Brian Jordan fought through a leg cramp just long enough to score from second on Ray Lankford's single Wednesday night, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a 5-4, 14-inning victory over the New York Mets.

Jordan appeared to be massaging a cramp after reaching first with one out in the 14th. He went to second on a four-pitch walk to Mark McGwire -- McGwire's second walk of the game and 124th of the season.

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  • Lankford sliced a ball foul down the left-field line that Tony Phillips missed just before crashing into the wall, though no error was ruled.

    "It was a play I should have made," Phillips said.

    Given another chance, Lankford slapped his third hit of the game up the middle off John Franco (0-7), who was pitching in his third inning. Delino DeShields and Jordan also had three hits for St. Louis.

    Jordan easily beat center fielder Brian McRae's throw with a head-first slide, but cramped up again as he popped up off the ground from his slide. He was helped off the field but appeared to be all right in the locker room, though he went to the trainer's room and did not speak with reporters.

    "You run as much as he and Ray do in 14 innings, it takes something out of your legs," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

    John Frascatore (2-3) pitched one perfect inning for the victory.

    McGwire didn't homer but went 1-for-4 with a single, a sacrifice fly and three strikeouts, giving him 112. He drove in two runs and has 106 RBI, second-best in the league behind Chicago's Sammy Sosa. He remains at 47 homers.

    The game appeared all but over nearly two hours before it finally ended. The Cardinals took a 4-1 lead into the ninth, and reliever Jeff Brantley retired the first wo batters.

    But Carlos Baerga, who went 4-for-6, singled and Jorge Fabregas lined a homer to right, his first hit in eight at-bats since coming to the Mets in a July 31 trade with Arizona.

    Then Mike Piazza, who had been given the night off, pinch-hit and lined a homer, his 21st, over the wall in left-center.

    "We did almost everything we had to do," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "It was a character builder."

    Both teams squandered scoring chances in extra innings.

    The Cardinals put a runner on third with one out in the 13th, but Franco struck out pinch-hitter Tom Pagnozzi and got Luis Ordaz to ground out to second.

    McGwire was intentionally walked by Turk Wendell with one out and a runner on second in the 11th. However, Franco came in and got Lankford to ground into a double play.

    Lankford said he took the intentional walk -- and the walk to McGwire in the 14th -- personally.

    "You have to," he said. "It kind of motivates you. The thing is, you can't be afraid to fail."

    Since the All-Star break, Lankford leads the Cardinals with 36 RBI.

    Brantley's blown save -- his seventh and the team's NL-leading 27th -- denied a win for starter Kent Bottenfield, who allowed just one run in six innings.

    Bottenfield, a reliever who moved into the starting rotation because of injuries to the Cardinals' staff, has given up just six earned runs over his last five starts.

    McGwire's first-inning single scored DeShields, who had doubled off Masato Yoshii and moved to third on a flyout.

    In the third, DeShields singled, went to third on a hit by Jordan and scored on McGwire's fly to deep right. Lankford then doubled in Jordan.

    The Mets made it 3-1 in the fifth on a walk to McRae, a single by Baerga and an infield hit by Rey Ordonez.

    DeShields scored his third run of the night in the seventh. He drew a walk from reliever Mel Rojas, stole second and scored on Jordan's single.

    Yoshii, winless since May 27, gave up six hits, struck out five and walked two in six innings. He is 0-5 with nine no-decisions during his winless streak.

    Notes

  • McGwire got his 27th intentional walk of the season, breaking the Cardinals record set by Stan Musial in 1958.
  • St. Louis' Fernando Tatis struck out looking in the 11th and was thrown out by home-plate umpire Dana DeMuth for arguing.
  • Wendell has allowed just two earned runs in his last 20 innings.
  • McGwire has hit 71 homers in 163 games since joining the Cardinals last season.
  • St. Louis is 1-4 against the Mets this season and 3-13 over the past two years.
  • The game lasted 4 hours, 42 minutes.

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