06/14/2003 3:49 PM ET
Notes: A surprise for Renteria
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By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- When Edgar Renteria said Friday night he didn't realize at first he was Roger Clemens' 4,000th career strikeout victim, it was a little hard to believe. The Yankee Stadium crowd was roaring with every K as the Rocket closed in on the mark. The atmosphere in the second inning felt like a no-hitter was in the offing, with the yells growing louder every time a Cardinal went down on strikes.
But afterward, Renteria said he had no idea. He blocked out the flashbulbs popping with every attempt at 4,000, and was just trying to get a good swing on a good pitch. That simple.
"I didn't want to think too much," Renteria said Friday night. "I didn't know. I was just concentrating on the ball. Looking for a good pitch to hit. He's tough."
Approached about it Saturday afternoon, Renteria said he wasn't putting anybody on. He had no idea Clemens was closing in on not one, but two milestones.
"They were cheering every at-bat," he said, "but I thought it was always like that (at Yankee Stadium).
"I knew he was trying to go for 300, but I didn't know he was about to go to 4,000."
Overall, the Cards' star shortstop wasn't too down about becoming the answer to a trivia question.
"I feel great," he joked. "I know he's going to the Hall of Fame. And I know my name is going to be there, too."
Tino touched: There's no doubt the Yankee Stadium faithful still love Tino Martinez. Martinez got a rousing reception every time he came to the plate Friday, and again when he was announced before the game Saturday.
"It was more than I expected," Martinez said. "It was phenomenal. I knew that I'd get an ovation for the work I've done here, but that was way beyond my expectations.
He received an especially loud cheer his first time to bat Friday night, when he was the first man to bat after Clemens tallied strikeout No. 4,000. The former teammates allowed each other to have their moments with the crowd.
"It was neat that Tino stepped out for me, then I stepped off the mound to welcome him back," said Clemens. "It was really cool."
Eddie and Andy: As could have been expected, Eduardo Perez got the start in right field for the Cardinals on Saturday against Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte. Perez has become all but a regular against left-handed pitching. And rightly so -- he's hammering southpaws.
Perez was 12-for-28 (.429) against lefties entering Saturday's game. Seven of his eight extra-base hits are off left-handed pitchers. That follows last year, when he hit .271 but slugged .643 against lefties.
Jim Edmonds batted second, J.D. Drew's usual spot, while Scott Rolen and Renteria each moved up a position to fourth and fifth. Perez batted sixth. Orlando Palmeiro got the call in left field in place of Kerry Robinson, who started the previous two games.
Baby 'Birds: Mike Crudale took the loss, giving up three runs in the 10th, as Triple-A Memphis fell, 8-6, to Iowa. Danny Haren struck out eight and walked one, but allowed three runs in five innings. ... Double-A Tennessee got a fine start from Jeremy Cummings but lost, 2-1, to Carolina. ... Single-A Palm Beach is off for the Florida State League all-star break. ... Single-A Peoria got three hits from Reid Gorecki in a 5-1 win over Quad City.
The player of the day was Peoria starter Donovan Graves, who improved to 5-2 with eight strong innings. Graves gave up one run on five hits, striking out two and walking one. Graves, 21, was the Cards' 27th-round pick in the 1999 draft. He sports a 1.98 ERA this year with 40 strikeouts and 13 walks in 81 2/3 innings.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.