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Tatis' Blasts Cover Mac's Back


Fernando Tatis did his best Mark McGwire impersonation.

McGwire missed his second straight game with a sore back but St. Louis had plenty of offense, led by Tatis, who hit two two-run homers in the Cardinals' 8-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

"After the good spring training I had, I thought I could hit 20 and now we'll see what happens now," said Tatis, who has a career-high 21 homers this season.

With McGwire day-to-day, the Cardinals look to hitters like Tatis to provide offense.

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Game Summary

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  • "I don't feel any pressure to do anything more," Tatis said.

    Joe McEwing also hit a two-run homer and starter Kent Mercker had two hits in the same inning.

    It was the second two-homer game of the season for Tatis, who hit two grand slams in one inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 23.

    Mercker (3-4) allowed three runs, six hits, struck out two and walked four in six innings for the Cardinals. Mercker won for the first time since April 20 a span of 17 appearances.

    The Cardinals chased rookie Mike Lincoln (3-10) in the third. Mercker led off with a single and scored on McEwing's fifth homer of the season. With two outs, Ray Lankford walked and scored on Tatis' 20th home run.

    Mercker said he wasn't sure how hard to run when McEwing hit the home run.

    "The only other time I was on base when somebody hit a homer, they said I ran too slow, but you don't want to run too fast either," he said.

    The Cardinals added two more runs in the inning on a double by Darren Bragg, followed by consecutive singles by Alberto Castillo, David Howard and Mercker. Mercker was 2-for-13 entering the game.

    Acting manager Rene Lachemann said he had few decisions to make during the game.

    "We had good pitching, good hitting and good defense," Lachemann said. "There wasn't any way for me to mess it up."

    Lachemann, who formerly managed the Florida Marlins, was pressed into service because manager Tony La Russa had an upset stomach.

    La Russa returned to the park after being examined, but stayed in th clubhouse during the game.

    Lincoln said falling behind 2-0 on Tatis set up the home run.

    "I laid a fastball down the middle and he was ready for it," Lincoln said.

    Ricky Bottalico earned his 14th save because the tying run was on-deck when he came in with two outs in the eighth.

    Lincoln allowed six runs on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout in his 2 2-3 innings.

    Tatis hit another two-run homer in the fourth off Benj Sampson with Lankford on base.

    The Twins scored two in the fourth with the help of a Cardinals error. Terry Steinbach walked and went to third on a single by John Allen, who took second on the throw to third.

    Steinbach scored on a groundout by Matt Lawton and Allen scored when shortstop Edgar Renteria booted a grounder by Torii Hunter.

    The Twins added a run in the fifth on a two-out walk to Brent Gates and a double by Ron Coomer.

    Hunter hit a double to drive in Koskie, who reached on a walk in the eighth, to make the score 8-4.

    Notes:

  • Willie McGee is in an 0-for-17 slump.
  • Steinbach's 10-game hitting streak was stopped.
  • Second baseman Denny Hocking has not made an error in his 79 games this season.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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