Another homer by Mark McGwire, another loss for his St. Louis Cardinals. It has become an annoyingly familiar pattern for the slugger.
Kirk Rueter pitched eight strong innings, outdueling Kent Bottenfield and overcoming McGwire's 37th homer of the season, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Cardinals 2-1 Tuesday.
"I wish I could do something when we win," said McGwire, who also homered in the Cardinals' 10-8 loss to the Giants on Monday night.
John Johnstone pitched the ninth for his third save.
While McGwire's homer went about 407 feet, the Giants scored their runs in the sixth on two balls that didn't make it out of the infield. Barry Bonds got an RBI on a slow grounder and Ellis Burks followed with a run-scoring infield single.
"A win's a win. I don't think anybody's going to complain," said Rueter, whose Giants won for just the fifth time in 13 games since the All-Star break. "With the way our luck has been going since the break, we're happy with any win."
Bottenfield (14-4), trying to become the first 15-game winner in the NL, allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings. He had won his previous five decisions.
"What can you do? There were a couple of infield hits that inning and I walked a guy, and that doesn't help," Bottenfield said. "Sometimes when you pitch well things don't work out, sometimes when you pitch badly things do work out."
McGwire homered in the first inning, taking the major league lead for the first time since opening day. The solo homer moved him one past Sammy Sosa, who did not homer in the Chicago Cubs 4-2 win at Montreal.
McGwire's 10th homer in his last 13 games, a shot over the left-field bleachers, moved him past Lou Gehrig into sole possession of 16th place on the career list with 494 home runs. McGwire had tied Gehrig with a threerun homer Monday night against the Giants.
"That is a huge name in the game of baseball," McGwire said. "When people constantly put my name up against all these Hall of Famers, it's quite awesome to think I've passed them."
With 256 homers since the start of the 1995 season, McGwire matched Babe Ruth's record for most homers in five consecutive seasons. Ruth hit 256 from 1926-30.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed