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Benes Ignores Boo-Birds, Beats Cardinals in Return

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Andy Benes ignored the boos in his return to St. Louis, the city he said he never wanted to leave.

Benes pitched a seven-hitter and doubled to start a five-run sixth inning as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Cardinals, 8-2, Thursday to split their first doubleheader at St. Louis.

“Yeah, I heard the boos,” Benes said. “Four or five years ago, I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle it.”

Benes (2-1), who won 28 games with St. Louis from 1996-97, signed an $18 million, three-year contract with Arizona after a $30 million, five-year deal with the Cardinals was nullified because it came after the deadline for teams to re-sign their former players who became free agents.

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Benes took the mound to heavy boos. Part of his reception might have been the result of an exchange Tuesday with Cardinals third-base Coach Rene Lachemann, in which Benes made sarcastic remarks.

In the first game, Todd Stottlemyre became the latest pitcher to handle the Diamondbacks, throwing seven strong innings in a 5-4 victory.

The Cardinal reserves had the big hits. Brian Hunter, making his second start, had a three-run double in the first and David Howard hit a two-run homer in the sixth.

Chicago 8, New York 4--Henry Rodriguez hit a three-run homer and Jeff Blauser hit a solo shot at New York as the Cubs broke a four-game losing streak and stopped the Mets’ four-game winning streak.

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Brant Brown tripled, doubled and had a two-run single for the Cubs. Sandy Martinez tripled and doubled, Mickey Morandini hit a two-run single and Rodriguez also doubled.

Florida 12, Philadelphia 4--Craig Counsell capped a six-run first inning with a grand slam and Charles Johnson also drove in four runs at Miami.

Bobby Bonilla was ejected along with Marlins Manager Jim Leyland in the first inning after the third baseman argued a called third strike by Jeff Kellogg and charged the plate umpire.

Milwaukee 5, Montreal 3 (14)--Marquis Grissom singled home Jeff Cirillo in the 14th inning and Fernando Vina tied his career high with five hits at Montreal.

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Doug Jones (1-0) pitched two hitless innings, helping the Brewers improve to 7-2 on the road.

Milwaukee is just 2-3 at home.

Atlanta 3, Pittsburgh 1--John Smoltz returned to the Atlanta rotation with five scoreless innings and the Braves finished off a sweep of the Pirates at Atlanta.

Smoltz, who underwent elbow surgery in December, made three rehabilitation starts in the minors before rejoining the Braves. He showed no lingering effects of the injury during a 75-pitch stint, allowing two hits and striking out seven.

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Houston 7, Cincinnati 4--Bill Spiers doubled with the bases loaded to start a five-run third inning that led the Astros to victory at Cincinnati.

The Astros stopped their three-game losing streak by sending 10 batters to the plate in the third. The top five hitters in the lineup scored, and Moises Alou and Carl Everett hit consecutive triples to complete the rally off David Weathers (1-1).


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