Feeds:
Posts
Comments

General manager Walt Jocketty, who made an array of trades that transformed the Cardinals into perennial contenders, was the victim of an internal management mess.

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. became enamored of a data-driven consultant, Jeff Luhnow, who had business acumen. DeWitt brought Luhnow onto the management team, promoted him and put him in charge of the Cardinals’ player development group.

In essence, Jocketty was head of major-league baseball operations and Luhnow became head of minor-league baseball operations.

The problem was DeWitt did this without gaining the support of Jocketty. Though Luhnow reported to Jocketty, their relationship was icy _ Luhnow was DeWitt’s guy, not Jocketty’s _ and created division and tension throughout the front office.

DeWitt expected Jocketty and Luhnow to work out their differences and create organizational harmony.

Jocketty, feeling undercut and underappreciated, couldn’t bring himself to work collaboratively with a baseball newcomer with whom he had wide philosophical differences.

DeWitt had said he hired Luhnow to be a “problem solver.”

The problem-maker, in DeWitt’s view, was Jocketty.

Ten years ago, on Oct. 3, 2007, DeWitt surprised nearly everyone by firing Jocketty. The dismissal came a year after the Cardinals had won their first World Series championship in 24 seasons.

Redbirds revived

In 1994, when Anheuser-Busch owned the Cardinals, Jocketty was hired to replace Dal Maxvill as general manager. At the time, Jocketty was assistant general manager of the Rockies.

A year later, in 1995, Jocketty hired Tony La Russa to be the Cardinals’ manager. Jocketty and La Russa had worked together in the Athletics organization.

In 1996, a group led by DeWitt completed the purchase of the Cardinals from Anheuser-Busch.

With new ownership expressing a commitment to winning, Jocketty and La Russa went to work rebuilding a Cardinals club that hadn’t been to the postseason since 1987 and hadn’t won a World Series championship since 1982.

After qualifying for the postseason once in their first four years together, the leadership team of DeWitt, Jocketty and La Russa got the Cardinals into the postseason six times in a seven-year stretch from 2000-2006. The 2006 team won the World Series title.

Jocketty largely was responsible for the turnaround. His trades brought talent such as Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Edgar Renteria, Darryl Kile, Woody Williams, Larry Walker and Adam Wainwright, to name just a few.

Front office duel

Though the Cardinals had become successful, DeWitt determined the organization needed a different approach to scouting and player development. DeWitt hired Luhnow in October 2003 for the newly created position of vice president for baseball development.

Luhnow and Jocketty clashed. Communication between Luhnow and Jocketty and their staffs broke down.

“There was basically a difference of philosophy,” Jocketty said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He added, “It’s not a way I’m comfortable operating.”

Luhnow said, “I wasn’t trying to cram things down people’s throats,” but added, “I have definitely stimulated a lot of debate since I’ve been here.”

John Mozeliak, Cardinals assistant general manager, was placed in the uncomfortable role of being the conduit between Jocketty and Luhnow.

“(Mozeliak) has done a very good job of staying above the fray,” DeWitt said.

Said Cardinals president Mark Lamping: “(Mozeliak) was sometimes torn between two factions within baseball operations. Tough job for anybody to do that.”

Divorce court

After the championship high of 2006, the Cardinals finished with a losing record (78-84) in 2007.

On Oct. 3, three days after the end of the 2007 season, Jocketty was called to a morning meeting at DeWitt’s house in Clayton, Mo. Jocketty didn’t know what to expect.

During the 45-minute session, DeWitt, saying it was “time to move forward with undivided vision and purpose,” fired Jocketty, though the owner chose to frame the departure as a mutual decision. DeWitt said he and Jocketty “were in agreement our relationship … had likely run its course.”

Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch cited “a widening front office split” and “Jocketty’s refusal to embrace the new structure” as reasons for DeWitt’s decision.

“I don’t think it played out where we could close the divide,” DeWitt said. “There had been a divide from prior years, but not as severe as it became.”

Said Lamping: “A division within baseball operations continuing without a common purpose just doesn’t work.”

Tangled web

Jocketty had a year remaining on his contract and DeWitt said he would pay him the $1 million in salary for 2008.

Jocketty asked DeWitt to hold off announcing the dismissal to the media until he had a chance to tell his son, a high school junior, who turned 17 that day. DeWitt agreed. The announcement was made at 3 p.m.

Soon after Jocketty departed the meeting, DeWitt called La Russa at his residence in California. La Russa said he was “surprised and disappointed” by Jocketty’s departure.

“I thought Walt would be back,” said La Russa.

Reflecting on his relationship with Luhnow, Jocketty said, “There are probably things I could have done and should have done to try and make it work better, but I wasn’t comfortable. I didn’t do it.”

Regarding his tenure with the Cardinals from 1994-2007, Jocketty said, “We’ve had one of the most successful eras in Cardinals history. I hope that is how it is remembered.”

Three weeks after the shakeup, La Russa, to the surprise of many, signed to return as Cardinals manager. On Oct. 31, Mozeliak was named to succeed Jocketty.

La Russa and Mozeliak led the Cardinals to a World Series championship in 2011.

Jocketty became general manager of the Reds in 2008 and went on to serve the club in a variety of executive roles.

Luhnow left the Cardinals in December 2011 to become general manager of the Astros.

Four years later, it was learned a member of the Cardinals front office unlawfully had hacked into the Astros’ database. In 2016, Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to prison.

Previously: Walt Jocketty’s July gems: Chuck Finley, Scott Rolen

In a season that started spectacularly before shattering into shambles, the low point for Cardinals pitcher John Denny occurred when he was ejected from a game before it began.

Forty years ago, on Sept. 27, 1977, Denny was ejected before the start of a game at St. Louis because he ignored an umpire’s directive to stop talking with people in or near the stands.

It was that kind of season for Denny. He won his first seven decisions for the 1977 Cardinals and then lost his next eight in a row. During the skid, he was injured and sat out for more than a month.

A year after leading the National League in earned run average, Denny was an underachiever for the 1977 Cardinals.

Up and down

Denny debuted in the big leagues with the Cardinals in September 1974. He earned 10 wins for St. Louis in 1975 and followed that with 11 wins and a league-leading 2.52 ERA in 1976. Denny was especially strong in the second half of the 1976 season, posting ERAs of 1.93 in July, 1.88 in August and 1.15 in September.

He carried over his effective pitching into the start of the 1977 season. Denny was 5-0 with a 2.94 ERA in April and his record stood at 7-0 after a shutout victory over the Cubs on May 31.

Then his season began to unravel. In June, Denny was 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA. He was ejected on June 6 for bumping an umpire and he got tossed again on June 11 for fighting with Reggie Smith of the Dodgers.

On June 21, Denny suffered a hamstring injury and didn’t pitch from June 22 until July 30. After he came back, Denny lost six decisions in a row, dropping his record to 7-8 with a 4.67 ERA.

“That was the worst stretch I’ve ever been through,” Denny said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It really bothered me.”

Social hour

In their final homestand of the 1977 season, the Cardinals had games with the Expos and Mets.

On Sept. 27, the night before he was scheduled to make a start against the Expos on Sept. 28, Denny was talking with people in or near the stands before the game.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Edwardsville (Ill.) Intelligencer offered slightly different versions of what transpired between Denny and umpire Paul Runge.

_ Post-Dispatch: “Before the game, Runge noticed Denny leaning across the rail, talking to fans in violation of a league rule. When the umpire ordered Denny to return to the dugout, the pitcher got testy and was ejected.”

_ Intelligencer: “Runge objected to Denny talking to photographers in their booth by the dugout after he had asked that players move away from the stands.”

Cardinals management complained that Runge had overstepped his authority because the game hadn’t started, the Intelligencer reported.

Happy ending

Because Runge was scheduled to work home plate in the Expos-Cardinals game on Sept. 28, Denny was scratched from his start that night by manager Vern Rapp, who wanted to avoid a potential conflict between pitcher and umpire. Rapp moved Denny’s start to Sept. 30 in Game 1 of a Friday night doubleheader against the Mets.

Denny, 25, ended the tumultuous season on a high note. He pitched a complete game in a 7-2 Cardinals victory against the Mets. The win _ his first since May _ evened his record at 8-8.

Denny, who yielded eight hits and issued three walks, was helped by a defense that turned three double plays.

“That was one of the hardest games for me because I had to wait so long to win one,” Denny said. Boxscore

Denny credited pitching coach Claude Osteen with finding and fixing a flaw. “Claude noticed in some films that I had been hurrying too much with my pitches,” said Denny. “That made me erratic with my curve and with my changeup.”

Previously: Larry Dierker and his unsatisfying stint with Cardinals

Delivering pitches with a motion that resembled someone cracking a whip, Jim Donohue was a top prospect in the Cardinals’ system.

In 1960, Donohue, a St. Louis native and graduate of Christian Brothers College High School, made a strong bid for a spot on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, but fell short of achieving the goal.

Instead, two months later, the Cardinals traded him.

Though he never pitched for the Cardinals in the regular season, Donohue did play two years in the major leagues with three American League teams.

Donohue died in St. Louis on Sept. 9, 2017, at 78.

Career choice

Donohue, son of a policeman, was a teammate of Mike Shannon, future Cardinals player and broadcaster, at Christian Brothers.

In June 1956, Donohue graduated from high school and signed with the Cardinals for $4,000.

Asked years later by reporter Jack Herman about the decision to pursue a baseball career rather than follow his father into law enforcement, Donohue replied, “I’d rather pitch than get shot at.”

Donohue, 17, made his professional debut with the 1960 Gainesville (Fla.) G-Men, a Class D club in the Cardinals’ system.

His breakout season _ the one that put him in the top tier of prospects _ occurred two years later, 1958, with the York (Pa.) White Roses, a Class A club managed by Joe Schultz.

Donohue was 7-0 with a 1.48 ERA for York.

Moving up

Impressed, the Cardinals promoted Donohue to their Class AA team, the Houston Buffaloes, in June 1958. In his debut game for Houston, Donohue pitched a two-hitter in a 4-0 shutout win over the Dallas Rangers. He struck out 11.

In October 1958, Donohue was invited to join other top Cardinals prospects in the Florida Instructional League. Donohue and Gordon Richardson were cited by The Sporting News as “fledgling Cards pitchers from whom much is expected.”

Donohue opened the 1959 season with the Rochester Red Wings, but soon after was sent to St. Louis’ other Class AAA club, the Omaha Cardinals, where he was reunited with manager Joe Schultz. Donohue joined a staff that included other elite pitching prospects such as Bob Gibson and Ray Sadecki.

In July 1959, Donohue pitched a two-hitter for Omaha in a 4-0 triumph over the Minneapolis Millers. Donohue retired 18 consecutive batters until Chuck Tanner singled.

“Manager Joe Schultz’s faith in young Jim Donohue is reaping rich rewards for Omaha,” The Sporting News wrote.

Said Schultz of Donohue: “He’s got quite a future.”

Donohue had a 2.39 ERA in 28 appearances for Omaha. After the season, St. Louis placed Donohue on its big-league winter roster.

The Whip

During that off-season, Donohue participated in workouts at the St. Louis University gym with fellow area residents Stan Musial, Ken Boyer and Joe Cunningham of the Cardinals.

Donohue reported to 1960 spring training at St. Petersburg, Fla., determined to earn a spot on the big-league pitching staff.

At 6 feet 4 and 175 pounds, Donohue had a “buggy whip” delivery that reminded many of another right-hander, Ewell Blackwell, who had been an all-star with the Reds in the 1940s.

“Jim is rough on right-handed swingers,” Sadecki said. “He throws everything downstairs. They call him The Whip and I guess he is the closest thing to Blackwell in both physique and delivery to come along in several years.”

Sal Maglie, who had ended his pitching career with the 1958 Cardinals and had stayed with the organization as a scout and instructor in 1959, had worked with Donohue to develop a slider to use against left-handed batters.

After Donohue had several effective outings early in 1960 spring training, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine called him the “sleeper” of training camp.

However, in April, just before the Cardinals opened the season, they sent Donohue to Rochester.

“I thought I was going to make it with the Cardinals,” Donohue said.

Big time

Donohue was 4-2 with a 4.03 ERA for Rochester. On June 15, 1960, 30 minutes before the trade deadline, the Cardinals dealt Donohue and outfielder Duke Carmel to the Dodgers for outfielder John Glenn.

In reporting the trade, the Post-Dispatch described Donohue as a “highly regarded pitching prospect who almost stuck with the varsity in the spring” and “rated among the top Cardinals farmhands.”

The Dodgers assigned Donohue to their Class AAA club, the St. Paul Saints, and he spent the rest of the 1960 season there.

In December 1960, the Tigers took Donohue in the minor-league draft. He pitched well at training camp the following spring and opened the 1961 season on the Tigers’ Opening Day roster.

Donohue made his big-league debut in the Tigers’ season opener on April 11, 1961. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief against the Indians. Boxscore

On April 23, the Tigers and Angels played a doubleheader at Detroit. Donohue got his first big-league save in the opener and his first big-league win in the second game.

In the ninth inning of the first game, the Angels had the bases loaded, one out, when Tigers manager Bob Scheffing turned to Donohue to protect a 3-1 lead. Donohue retired pinch-hitters Ken Hunt and Leo Burke on pop-outs. Boxscore

In Game 2, Donohue relieved Jim Bunning in the 11th, pitched a scoreless inning and got the win when the Tigers scored in the bottom half of the inning. Boxscore

“Donohue looked good in Florida near the end (of camp),” Scheffing said. “We had a feeling he would be a big help.”

Baseball man

Donohue was 1-1 with one save and a 3.54 ERA when the Tigers traded him to the Angels in June 1961. He got into 38 games with the 1961 Angels and was 4-6 with five saves and a 4.31 ERA.

In 1962, his last season in the majors, Donohue pitched for the Angels and Twins. His combined record for those two teams was 1-1 with one save and a 4.67 ERA in 18 appearances.

Fifty-five years later, Donohue’s obituary in the Post-Dispatch noted, “His love for baseball continued throughout his lifetime.”

Previously: Clyde King mentored young Cardinals of 1960s

Consistently confrontational, Al Hrabosky was involved in controversy right down to his very last homestand as a Cardinals pitcher.

In 1977, Hrabosky, the so-called “Mad Hungarian,” was involved in a series of incidents, including feuding publicly with manager Vern Rapp, getting suspended by the club for refusing to meet with the manager and incurring the wrath of team owner Gussie Busch by defying a ban on facial hair.

Hrabosky also sparked an on-field brawl in May that year when he hit Cesar Cedeno of the Astros with a pitch.

Forty years ago, on Sept. 26, 1977, Hrabosky capped his tumultuous season by throwing a pitch at the head of Warren Cromartie of the Expos in the opening game of the Cardinals’ final homestand.

An Expos pitcher, Wayne Twitchell, peeved by what he perceived to be an intentional assault of his teammate, waited outside the Cardinals’ clubhouse to confront Hrabosky after the game.

Tough ninth

The Expos and Cardinals entered the ninth inning of the Monday night game at St. Louis with the score tied at 5-5. Among the highlights to that point were Garry Templeton’s two-run inside-the-park home run against Twitchell in the sixth and Gary Carter’s three-run home run for the Expos in the seventh against Eric Rasmussen.

Rawly Eastwick yielded singles to the first four Expos batters in the ninth. The last of those consecutive hits, by Ellis Valentine, drove in a run and put the Expos ahead, 6-5.

With the bases loaded and none out, Hrabosky relieved Eastwick.

The first batter he faced, Carter, pulled a curveball to left for a single, scoring two and giving the Expos an 8-5 lead.

“The count was 2-and-2 and he had just blown one by me,” Carter said to the Associated Press. “I consider myself a fastball hitter and I was surprised to get the curve. He got it up some and I waited for it.”

Danger zone

Next up was Cromartie. Hrabosky threw a fastball that sailed directly toward Cromartie’s head. Cromartie raised his arm to protect his face and the ball struck his right wrist.

“If he hadn’t got his hand up, it would have hit him right here,” Expos manager Dick Williams, pointing to his temple, said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Valentine tried to charge from the dugout to the mound to get at Hrabosky, but he was restrained by teammates. Players from both clubs gathered on the field but no fights erupted and no one was ejected.

“He threw at him,” Valentine said. “Everybody on the ball club knew it.”

Hrabosky stayed in the game and completed the inning. The Expos added a run on a sacrifice fly by pitcher Don Stanhouse. The Cardinals failed to score in their half of the ninth and the Expos won, 9-5. Boxscore

Face to face

Hrabosky exited the dugout through a hallway to the clubhouse. As he approached the clubhouse door, he was surprised to see Twitchell there.

Twitchell, 6 feet 6, 215 pounds, pointedly told Hrabosky, 5 feet 11, 185 pounds, that hitting Cromartie with a pitch right after yielding a two-run single to Carter “was very poor timing.”

“I asked what the hell he thought he was doing,” Twitchell said. “He said it was unintentional.”

Several Cardinals had gathered in the hallway on their way to the clubhouse. “I was drastically outnumbered,” Twitchell said.

Asked whether he was seeking a fight, Twitchell said, “If that’s what it came to, but he wouldn’t swing.”

Twitchell departed and went to the Expos clubhouse.

“He hung a pitch and Carter gets a hit,” Twitchell said of Hrabosky. “Now he’s going to take it out on the next hitter? If you are going to brush back a hitter, there’s no worse place you can put the ball.”

Hrabosky declined to comment to reporters.

Said Cardinals manager Vern Rapp: “There was no intent. What does a guy want to hit him for with two men on and nobody out?”

Hrabosky pitched in three more games for the Cardinals. After the season, he was traded to the Royals.

Previously: Bake McBride was a menace against Wayne Twitchell

Previously: Gary Carter and his two 5-RBI games against Cardinals

Facing a collection of arms ranging from a 15-year-old making his big-league debut to a 36-year-old batting practice pitcher, the 1944 Cardinals became the first team in the majors to achieve two shutout wins by margins of 16 runs or more in the same month.

On June 10, 1944, the Cardinals beat the Reds, 18-0. Two weeks later, on June 24, the Cardinals beat the Pirates, 16-0.

Only one other major-league club, the 2017 Twins, earned two shutout wins by margins of at least 16 runs in the same month, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. On Sept. 2, 2017, the Twins beat the Royals, 17-0. Ten days later, on Sept. 12, the Twins beat the Padres, 16-0.

Fun facts

Both of the lopsided June shutout victories by the 1944 Cardinals occurred on Saturday afternoons and in road games _ at Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals had a total of 43 hits _ one home run _ in the two games.

Stan Musial contributed seven hits in nine at-bats with four walks.

Mort Cooper pitched the shutouts: a five-hitter and a three-hitter.

Reaching base

The Cardinals’ game against the Reds took place at Crosley Field four days after the Allies launched the D-Day invasion in France. The game attracted 3,510 cash customers, 318 servicemen and 1,641 youths from the Knothole baseball program.

Though the Cardinals had 21 hits and received 14 walks, the game was completed in a relatively brisk 2:23.

Musial had three singles, three walks, three RBI and scored four times.

The Cardinals had 19 singles and two extra-base hits. George Fallon, the eighth-place batter, and Johnny Hopp, the leadoff man, each doubled.

St. Louis stranded 18 base runners, tying a major-league record.

The 18-0 score was the most lopsided shutout win in the National League since 1906 when the Cubs beat the Giants, 19-0, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Hey, Joe

With the Cardinals ahead, 13-0, Reds manager Bill McKechnie decided to have Joe Nuxhall, 15, make his major-league debut in the ninth inning.

With their pitching staff depleted because of military service during World War II, the Reds had signed Nuxhall that year. His parents agreed to let him join the club for home games. Because he wasn’t old enough to drive, Nuxhall took a 30-minute bus ride from his home in Hamilton, Ohio, to Crosley Field for the games, according to the Washington Post.

Nuxhall, in the dugout while the Reds prepared to bat in their half of the eighth inning, heard McKechnie call out, “Joe!”

“I said to myself, ‘He can’t be talking to me,’ ” Nuxhall told Cincinnati TV station WCET in 2005. “We had a couple of Joes on the ball club. And he says ‘Joe!’ a little louder. I looked and he said, ‘Go warm up.’ ”

Nuxhall, wearing borrowed cleats, grabbed a glove and started up the dugout steps to head to the bullpen.

“I was scared to death,” Nuxhall recalled in a 1994 interview with the Associated Press. “I got all shook up and tripped over the top step and fell flat on my face in the dirt. It was embarrassing.”

After the Reds batted in the eighth, Nuxhall took the mound to pitch the ninth, becoming the youngest player to appear in a major-league game.

“I was kind of in awe of these guys, the way they were hitting line drives,” Nuxhall said of the Cardinals.

Wild thing

Admitting to being “scared out of my wits,” Nuxhall threw wildly but was managing his way through the inning. Of the first four batters he faced, Nuxhall walked two and retired two on infield outs.

Runners were on first and second when Musial stepped to the plate.

“Probably two weeks prior to that, I was pitching against seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders, kids 13 and 14 years old,” Nuxhall said. “All of a sudden, I look up and there’s Stan Musial … It was a very scary situation.

“By that time, I was all over the place (with my pitches). It wasn’t two inches outside. It was high and inside, high and outside, bouncing pitches. When (Musial) walked up there, I guess he thought I was a needle threader. My first pitch, he just lined to right. Hit it hard.”

Musial’s single loaded the bases.

Unnerved, Nuxhall walked the next three batters, leading to three runs, and then yielded a two-run single to Emil Verban.

McKechnie went to the mound _ “I believe he said, ‘Joe, that’s enough,’ ” Nuxhall recalled _ and took the teen out of the game after he had yielded five runs in two-thirds of an inning. Boxscore

“What the cash customers saw in the ninth didn’t exactly meet with their hearty approval,” the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote of Nuxhall’s debut.

Said Nuxhall: “Those people that were at Crosley Field that afternoon probably said, ‘Well, that’s the last we’ll see of that kid.’ ”

(After his debut, Nuxhall wouldn’t pitch in the big leagues again until 1952 at age 23. He went on to play 16 seasons in the majors, earning 135 wins, and later became a beloved broadcaster for the Reds.)

Hit parade

Two weeks later at Forbes Field, Ray Sanders led the Cardinals’ attack against the Pirates. Sanders had a single, double, home run and walked twice. He drove in three and scored twice.

Musial had four hits _ three singles and a double _ and a walk. He scored twice and had a RBI.

The Cardinals used 22 hits and seven walks for their 16 runs. They stranded 14. The game, played the day after a tornado swept through Pittsburgh, was completed in a snappy 2:02 before 4,899 paying spectators.

Cooper limited the Pirates to three singles.

Xavier Rescigno, who relieved Pirates starter Fritz Ostermueller with none out in the second, gave up 17 hits and 10 runs in seven innings.

With the score 15-0, “it finally reached such a stage that (Pirates) manager Frankie Frisch sent Joe Vitelli, his batting practice pitcher, to the mound to hurl the ninth,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Vitelli, 36, yielded back-to-back doubles to pinch-hitter Pepper Martin, 40, and Sanders for the final run. Boxscore

Previously: How Giants beat John Tudor, Cardinals, 21-2

In a microcosm of their dismal 1997 season, the Cardinals used a record number of pinch-hitters in a game and none produced a hit.

Twenty years ago, on Sept. 25, 1997, the Cardinals tied a National League record with nine pinch-hitters in a game against the Reds at St. Louis.

Six of the St. Louis pinch-hitters made outs, two delivered sacrifices and one was hit by a pitch.

The Reds won, 4-3, in 14 innings. One of their pinch-hitters, Lenny Harris, singled and scored the winning run.

It was that kind of season for the 1997 Cardinals, a team that finished 73-89 and whose pinch-hitters had more strikeouts (67) than hits (49).

Making moves

The Cardinals, aiming to snap a five-game losing streak, trailed the Reds, 3-2, when manager Tony La Russa used his first pinch-hitter, Willie McGee, in the seventh. With a runner on first and none out, McGee, batting for Mike Difelice, flied out.

La Russa sent two more pinch-hitters to bat in the seventh. Tom Lampkin, batting for David Bell, grounded into a force out. Scott Livingstone batted for pitcher Rigo Beltran and flied out.

The Cardinals’ fourth pinch-hitter, Ron Gant, batted for Luis Ordaz in the eighth and struck out.

Rookie delivers

In the ninth, La Russa again used three pinch-hitters in an inning. This time, it produced a run.

With runners on first and third, one out, Lampkin was due to bat against left-hander Mike Remlinger. La Russa wanted a right-handed batter to face Remlinger in that situation. He sent Tom Pagnozzi to bat for Lampkin, a left-handed batter.

Reds manager Jack McKeon countered by replacing Remlinger with Stan Belinda, a right-hander.

Before Pagnozzi could see a pitch, La Russa removed him and put in John Mabry. A left-handed batter, Mabry hadn’t been in a game since breaking his jaw in mid-August.

Belinda drilled Mabry in the right knee with a pitch, loading the bases.

With pitcher Jose Bautista due to bat next, La Russa called on his seventh pinch-hitter of the game, Eli Marrero. A rookie, Marrero was making his first pinch-hit appearance in the big leagues.

Marrero drove a pitch from Belinda to the warning track in left, driving in the runner from third with the sacrifice fly and tying the score at 3-3.

Pitcher in a pinch

In the 11th, with two outs and none on, pitcher Lance Painter was scheduled to bat for the Cardinals. Painter had batted once in 1997 and struck out.

La Russa sent another pitcher, Todd Stottlemyre, to bat for Painter. It was the first and only pinch-hit appearance by Stottlemyre in a 14-year major-league career.

“My heart was racing,” Stottlemyre said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Stottlemyre, who hit .236 for the 1997 Cardinals, struck out.

Falling short

The Reds went ahead in the 14th. A single by Ed Taubensee against Mark Petkovsek scored Harris from second.

In the Cardinals’ half of the inning, McGee led off with a single against Gabe White. Batting for Petkovsek, the Cardinals’ ninth pinch-hitter, Jeff Berblinger, advanced McGee to second with a sacrifice bunt.

Marrero grounded out, with McGee holding second.

Down to the last out, Delino DeShields kept alive the Cardinals’ hopes with an infield single, moving McGee to third. DeShields, swiped second, giving the Cardinals two runners in scoring position.

The drama ended, though, when White struck out Royce Clayton. Boxscore

“We’ve been beaten too many times,” La Russa said. “Our confidence is not very good.”

Previously: Grant Dunlap: From Cardinals pinch-hitter to novelist