Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17, 2000 - 3-Home Run Attack Silences Metrodome Fans - An 8-3 Winner Over Twins

Monday, July 17, 2000  - At The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Pat Hentgen - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Minnesota Twins (Mike Lincoln - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  20,171

As the Cardinals discovered in the 1987 World Series - beating the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome, with 50,000 screaming fans serving as an eardrum-throbbing distraction for the visiting team, is virtually impossible.  The 1991 Atlanta Braves came close to pulling it off, but they too were swept in four straight World Series games in that deafening hellhole.

It's a little easier when the decibel level is a bit lower than that of a jet's engine at take-off - when only 20,000 or so moderately enthused fans are in attendance - like in this particular inter-league game - when the Cardinals managed to take control early on, keeping the fans out of it - but then again, this wasn't the World Series.

The Cardinals scored first - on a second-inning solo home run from the soon-to-be-departed Chris Richard (traded to Baltimore for lefty reliever Mike Timlin).  They added another run in the third-inning, on Thomas Howard's RBI single - scoring Jim Edmonds, who doubled to lead-off the inning.

However, the Twins scored a run off the veteran Pat Hentgen - a Cy Young Award winner in '96, having his last quality season as a starter in 2000.  A young David Ortiz drove in Cristian Guzman from third with a ground-out to the second baseman, to make it just a 2-1 St Louis lead.

In the fifth-inning, the Redbirds got a two-run home run off the bat of Fernando "Double Grand Salami" Tatis, to extend the lead to 4-1.

Minnesota knocked Hentgen out of the game in the seventh-inning, after consecutive singles by Jacques Jones and Marcus Jensen suddenly brought the tying run to the plate.  Heathcliff Slocumb took over on the mound and escaped major damage, when only Jones came around to score.

Nursing just a two-run lead, as the Cardinals began the eighth-inning, facing reliever Jason Ryan - Placido Polanco started a rally with a one-out single to center.  Manager Jim Kelly went to the bullpen again - bringing in Travis Miller to pitch to Fernando Vina - and that worked, as Vina struck out.  However, after Edgar Renteria walked, Edmonds gave the Cardinals some breathing room with a three-run bomb to right field.  Just like that, it was 7-2, in favor of St Louis - putting the Homer Dome crowd noise on "mute".

Both teams exchanged meaningless ninth-inning runs, as the Cardinals won for only the second time in this facility since inter-league play began in 1997.  With this win, Hentgen improved to 9-6 - and with his loss, Mike Lincoln had slipped to 0-3.

The home field advantage was diminished, but not vanquished in Minnesota - St Louis would still lose two out of three to a mediocre Twins team in this series.  But at least their hearing wasn't adversely affected this time around.

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