09/27/2003 2:44 PM ET
Renteria reaches milestone in win
La Russa ties Durocher on managerial win list
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
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PHOENIX -- Edgar Renteria's 100th RBI proved to be the decisive run as the Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks, 3-2, on Saturday. Eduardo Perez homered and Bo Hart contributed an RBI single on a day when the Cards employed a lineup without many of their usual starters.
Manager Tony La Russa watched from the general manager's box while serving the second game of a two-game suspension, but still got credit for career win No. 2,008. That moves him into a tie with Leo Durocher for seventh place on the all-time list.
"It's being in three great situations," La Russa said. "Every place I've been in has been perfect. I've never taken it for granted, and I've taken advantage of it."
Sterling Hitchcock pitched 5 1/3 innings for his fifth and possibly final victory as a Cardinal. The team has a hefty contract option on the left-hander for 2004, and there is a good chance he will be allowed to walk as a free agent instead. The Cardinals bullpen contributed 3 2/3 strong innings in relief of Hitchcock as St. Louis improved to 84-77 with one game left in the season.
Hitchcock went 5-1 with a 3.79 ERA after the trade, though this start was much better than his previous three.
"I'm not overly excited at how I've thrown the ball," he said. "But then again, when you take five wins out of it in a little over a month, you've got to be happy about that. It's good to contribute, and I'd like to come back here. I like the club. We'll see what ends up happening with that."
Arizona took a first-inning lead against Hitchcock as Mark Grace doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Raul Mondesi's sac fly. But the Cards got that run and another one back immediately.
Perez opened the second with a homer to left off rookie left-hander Chris Capuano (2-4), tying the game. Renteria beat out an infield single, moved to second on a walk and took third on a Capuano wild pitch. Hart, starting at second in place of the suspended Fernando Vina, singled to left, scoring Renteria.
"It was a situation where I'm trying to hit the ball solid," said Perez. "I was fortunate it stayed up in the air long enough for it to get over."
Capuano issued a leadoff walk to Pujols in the third, then hit Perez with a pitch. A double steal gave the Cards a pair of runners in scoring position with Renteria at the plate. He grounded into a fielder's choice at shortstop, allowing Pujols to score and making the score 3-1. Renteria became the first National League shortstop since Hubie Brooks in 1985 to drive in 100 runs in a season.
Mondesi homered in the fourth to cut the lead to a single run, but the Diamondbacks got no closer. Hitchcock permitted two runs, one earned, on five hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.
Hitchcock then handed the ball to his bullpen, and the relievers did the job. Russ Springer pitched two-thirds of inning, Steve Kline 1 1/3, and Mike DeJean retired two batters before Jason Isringhausen closed it out in the ninth. Isringhausen yielded consecutive singles to start the inning, but got the last three batters for his 21st save in 24 chances.
"We've had pitching problems all year long, and all of a sudden we got to September and we were in better shape pitching-wise than we had been all year," said La Russa. "With our bullpen, and with (Mike) DeJean added to what we had, and Sterling jumping in there and Matt (Morris, who had been injured) helping."
St. Louis and Arizona end their seasons against one another at 3:37 p.m. CT on Sunday.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.