Bottenfield Gives an All-Star Show
Kent Bottenfield of the St. Louis Cardinals had just become the first 14-game winner in the National League this year and already was thinking ahead to what should be his next appearance, in Tuesday’s All-Star game in Boston.
Bottenfield gave up two runs in six innings and two Cardinal relievers worked out of jams Sunday in the last two innings of a 5-4 victory over San Francisco that avoided a three-game sweep.
It was the fifth consecutive victory for Bottenfield (14-3), who gave up six hits and struck out five. He was not surprised that Manager Tony La Russa took him out after six innings.
“He was trying to put me in a position where we could win the game and I could still pitch on Tuesday,” Bottenfield said.
Bottenfield became the first St. Louis pitcher since Joaquin Andujar in 1985 to win 14 games before the All-Star break. Andujar was 15-4 at the break. Dizzy Dean is the only other Cardinal pitcher to do it, winning 14 games before the All-Star break in 1934 and 1936.
The only runs given up by Bottenfield came on Marvin Benard’s two-run home run off the right-field foul pole in the third inning.
The Giants loaded the bases in the eighth when two relievers walked three batters. Barry Bonds, who had missed the previous three games because of a groin injury, pinch hit and popped out against Manny Aybar to end the inning.
The Giants got another chance in the ninth.
After Ricky Bottalico walked the bases loaded, Jeff Kent hit a two-out grounder to third that Fernando Tatis smothered, but his throw was wide of second, allowing two runs to score on the hit and error. With runners on first and second, Stan Javier struck out to end the game, giving Bottalico his 12th save in 15 chances.