Cardinal Woes: 16 Strikeouts, Bad Cut
A bad day for the St. Louis Cardinals started with news that catcher Mike Matheny is out for the season after slicing his right ring finger with a hunting knife.
It got worse Friday night when Cincinnati pitcher Ron Villone cut them down with 16 strikeouts in an 8-1 victory at St. Louis.
The knife Matheny cut himself with was a birthday gift he had just opened. He was in surgery as shocked teammates learned the news in a team meeting before the game.
Villone’s performance was also shocking. His previous strikeout high was eight, and he entered the game with 61 strikeouts in 132 innings.
His 16 strikeouts tied the Reds’ franchise strikeout record held by Jim Maloney (1963) and Noodles Hahn (1901) for a nine-inning game.
Villone (10-10) pitched a two-hitter, and struck out Fernando Taitis four times. At the plate, he led the Reds with three singles.
Afterward, Villone said he had no idea how he doubled his previous career strikeout best. “If I knew, I’d go to Vegas,” he said. “I’m just thinking about getting ground balls.”
Nothing went right for the National League Central champion Cardinals, who are tied with Atlanta for the second-best record in the NL behind San Francisco.
Mark McGwire struck out as a pinch-hitter for the last out in the fifth with a runner on. He’s four for 13 since returning from the disabled list.
Cardinal starter Garrett Stephenson (16-9) missed his last start due to arm fatigue and a 12-day break didn’t help. He gave up five runs, all on home runs, on nine hits in five innings and has a 6.60 ERA in five September starts.
Manager Tony La Russa, terse all day after losing Matheny, was noncommittal about Stephenson’s chances of making the postseason rotation.
San Francisco 4, Arizona 3--Rich Aurilia hit a tiebreaking homer and drove in three runs at San Francisco as the Giants clinched at least a tie for the best record in the major leagues.
The Giants are two games ahead of Atlanta and St. Louis in the race for home-field advantage.
Colorado 4, Atlanta 2--Todd Hollandsworth and Terry Shumpert hit consecutive home runs off Andy Ashby and the Rockies won at Atlanta.
New York 11, Montreal 2--Jay Payton’s first career grand slam highlighted a six-run first inning as the Mets cruised past the Expos at New York.
Pittsburgh 8, Chicago 4--Adrian Brown hustled home from second base on an infield grounder in the seventh inning to score the tiebreaking run and the Pirates went on to win at Pittsburgh.
Milwaukee 13, Houston 3--Geoff Jenkins homered twice and Jeromy Burnitz homered and scored four runs to lead the Brewers at Houston.
Florida 7, Philadelphia 1--Chuck Smith allowed four hits and struck out 11 in eight strong innings as the Marlins beat the Phillies at Miami.
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