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McGwire And Gwynn, Cards Win


Mark McGwire is only one swing away from his milestone. Tony Gwynn can reach his with just two.

McGwire hit his 499th career home run and Tony Gwynn had a grand slam and two singles, giving him 2,998 career hits, before a sellout crowd hoping to see history Wednesday night.

McGwire and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Gwynn and the San Diego Padres 7-6 on an eighth-inning RBI single by Eli Marrero.

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Game Summary

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  • "There was some electricity in the park," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "There'll be more tomorrow."

    Both players said they'd pay to see the other try for history when the two teams meet again Thursday night.

    "If you love the game of baseball, I would think you'd try to find a way into the ballpark," McGwire said. "It should be exciting."

    Gwynn got a standing ovation after each of his hits, which left him two shy of becoming the 22nd member of the 3,000-hit club. His third career grand slam in the fifth inning put the Padres ahead 6-3 and drew an even larger ovation from the 43,546 fans.

    "I can't explain it," Gwynn said. "You could not envision what happened. It's a great, great feeling because I'm not at home."

    McGwire said he wasn't surprised.

    "That's St. Louis," he said.

    Gwynn was on deck when Rick Croushore struck out Quilvio Veras for the final out, earning his second save.

    "I wanted to leave Mr. 3,000 on-deck," Croushore said. "I didn't want to see him, because all I could hear was the fans clapping for him. didn't want that to happen to me."

    McGwire had been having a quiet night, going 1-for-3 with a bases-loaded infield single, before hitting a 1-0 pitch from reliever Donne Wall (6-3) an estimated 436 feet over the bullpen in left field in the seventh inning.

    It was McGwire's 15th homer in 20 games and No. 42 of the season, keeping him even with Sammy Sosa, who homered earlier in the day for the Cubs.

    McGwire and Sosa have homered on the same day 36 times the last two seasons, including 15 times this year.

    He's one homer away from becoming the 16th member of the 500-homer club, although he was still a bit testy when asked about why he showed more emotion than usual.

    "Why can't I show emotion?" McGwire said. "Why is it out of the ordinary? I've put my fist in the air before."

    McGwire leads the NL with 99 RBIs, including 11 in the last six games.

    Gwynn and McGwire get another chance to reach the marks in the series finale Thursday. Gwynn just wants to get it over so he doesn't have to transport a sizable entourage of family to Montreal.


    AP
    Tony Gwynn grand slammed one of his three hits.
    "Doesn't matter if it's a bunt and a blooper," Gwynn said. "I'd like to get my two hits, take my bows, and move on."

    Gwynn had been 1-for-9 the first two games of the four-game series and had been 13-for-57 (.228) since being activated from the disabled list July 19. The stretch had dropped his average to .309, 30 points below the majors' top active career average.

    He also entered the game batting .224 against left-handers, but all three hits came against lefties. After fouling out in the first, Gwynn singled and scored on Reggie Sanders' home run in the fourth. He hit his fifth career grand slam, and first since an inside-the-park homer June 26, 1997 on Kent Mercker's first pitch in the fifth.

    Gwynn's third hit was a single off Mike Mohler in the seventh.

    "To be honest, I was pretty happy with myself to get a hit," Gwynn said. "I'd finally gone to the plate and done something right."

    Heathcliff Slocumb (3-1) worked 1 1-3 hitless innings.

    The Padres lost for the 12th time in 13 games.

    Note

  • Cardinals OF Darren Bragg will undergo surgery for a torn right knee ligament in the near future and is out for the season.
  • Cardinals pitcher Alan Benes, who hasn't pitched in the majors since July 1997, makes his first rehab start for Double-A Arkansas on Thursday.
  • Sanders is the fifth Padres player in franchise history to have 20 homers and 20 steals.
  • Veras was back in the Padres' lineup after missing three games with a mild strain in his right calf and was 1-for-4 with a single and walk.
  • McGwire has two infield hits, matching his season total from last year.
  • The Cardinals lead the season series 5-1.

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