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Unit Deals Cards A Loss

Mark McGwire's 21st home run, Randy Johnson's move past Cy Young in career strikeouts and the first triple play in Arizona's history pretty much overshadowed the Diamondbacks' 6-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.

"The company I'm with now is nice, but more importantly, I think, is the situation of losing three close ballgames like we did, and we're kind of banged up, and we won a big ballgame," Johnson said. "It got us back on the winning track."

Johnson (9-1) struck out 10 to reach double digits for the 10th time in 12 starts this season, raising his major league-leading total to 131 and his career mark to 2,824, five more than Young.

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  • He also induced the Diamondbacks' first triple play from McGwire.

    "I don't think anybody relishes the moment to have McGwire up at the plate anytime, let alone with the bases loaded," Johnson said. "So I'm fortunate that he didn't hit it any deeper than he did. He hit it good enough, but not too deep to where Fins couldn't make the play."

    With Arizona leading 3-1 in the fifth inning, the bases were loaded when McGwire popped to Steve Finley in shallow center field.

    Finley threw out Placido Polanco, who tried to score from third. After making the tag at the plate, catcher Damian Miller threw to third, where shortstop Tony Womack tagged out Edgar Renteria trying to advance.

    "Yodon't see that kind very often," Finley said. "It usually happens in the infield. But he runs pretty good, and I'm sure they were trying to scratch for a run whenever they can when RJ's on the mound, so they took their chances."

    St. Louis manager Tony La Russa thought the idea was right.

    "Renteria just got a late break," La Russa said. "It should have been a double play."

    It was the fourth triple play in the majors this year and the second this week Oakland's Randy Velarde turned an unassisted triple play Monday at New York.

    McGwire also hit a solo homer in the eighth inning that chased Johnson.

    "There's no reason to talk about the home run because we lost," McGwire said. "He pitched very well and got a triple play. That was the turning point of the game."

    Johnson, who tied Toronto's David Wells for the major league lead in wins, struck out McGwire twice. He allowed two runs and nine hits in 7 2-3 innings, leaving after McGwire's first homer in 30 at-bats.

    "He was in the bullpen before the game and didn't feel like he had it," Miller said. "He was kind of erratic as far as throwing strikes. I've seen him better, I've seen him worse."

    Pat Hentgen (4-5) allowed five runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings.

    Jay Bell scored in the first inning on Hentgen's wild pitch, and Arizona made it 3-0 in the fourth on Greg Colbrunn's RBI single and Turner Ward's sacrifice fly.

    Shawon Dunston had an RBI single in the fifth. Arizona made it 5-1 in the eighth on Tony Womack's RBI single off Mike Matthews, who was making his major league debut, and Bell's sacrifice fly off Mark Thompson.


  • Byung Hyun Kim got four outs for his sixth save, striking out three of five batters.
  • Johnson, 0-2 against St. Louis last year, evened his record against the Cardinals at 3-3.
  • The attendance of 39,761 pushed Arizona's total in 28 home games to 1,001,801.
  • Johnson is 91-26 with 18 no-decisions when striking out 10 or more.
  • The road loss was the Cards' first in five games.
  • Hentgen dropped to 61-35 in decisions on the road, including 3-3 this year, and to 24-16 in May, his best month.

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