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McGwire hits milestone HR more

The Associated Press

McGwire made it to 500 home runs with fewer at-bats than anyone in baseball history, and for good measure hit No.

Friday, August 06, 1999

McGwire made it to 500 home runs with fewer at-bats than anyone in baseball history, and for good measure hit No. 501 off the left-field scoreboard Thursday night in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 10-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.

”I’ve exceeded everything I expected of myself,” McGwire said. ”Growing up as a kid, you don’t think about things like that. At least I didn’t. You just think about playing ball in your yard.”

Harmon Killebrew is the only other member of the 500-homer club to hit No. 501 in the same game.

Gwynn got his 2,999th hit – a two-run double in the ninth inning – to move closer to becoming the 22nd player to reach 3,000 hits. He was quite impressed by the cheers he received from the Cardinals’ fans who wanted to see more history made in St. Louis.

”Once again, it is amazing to me as a visiting player to be treated like I’ve been treated here,” Gwynn said.

The Padres’ hit machine will now take his chase and traveling party on to Montreal tonight.

”I felt like I swung the bat pretty good, but I fell one hit short,” Gwynn said. ”I’ll move on to the next stop, which is Montreal, and hopefully I can get it there (tonight).”

In other NL games, it was Colorado 2, Cincinnati 1; Houston 7, Los Angeles 0; Montreal 5, Chicago 2; Philadelphia 9, Florida 3; and Atlanta 6, Pittsburgh 3.

A sellout crowd of 45,106 came to Busch Stadium hoping to see a double-dose of history, but got only one moment from McGwire. He was given a bronze sculpture in a postgame ceremony.

After just missing in his first at-bat, the slugger who hit a record 70 homers last season sent a hanging breaking ball from Andy Ashby an estimated 451 feet over the center-field wall.

In the eighth, McGwire homered again off Ashby. This one traveled an estimated 479 feet, the longest this season at Busch.

McGwire made it to 500 in 5,487 at-bats, shattering Babe Ruth’s record of 5,801 at-bats. The others in the top five are Harmon Killebrew (6,671) Jimmie Foxx (7,074) and Mickey Mantle (7,300).

Big Mac leads the majors with 44 home runs, two more than Sammy Sosa, and tops the NL with 101 RBIs.

Ashby (10-5) allowed three runs on five hits in 7 2-3 innings and Trevor Hoffman finished for his 27th save. Chris Gomez drove in two runs for the Padres, who won for only the second time in 14 games and avoided a four-game sweep.

Astros 7, Dodgers 0

Shane Reynolds pitched a five-hitter for his seventh career shutout as Houston beat visiting Los Angeles.

Rookie Russ Johnson had three hits, including a home run that broke a scoreless tie and started a six-run seventh inning. The Astros won for the 10th time in 13 games.

Reynolds (14-7) struck out six and walked none in his second shutout of the season. He retired 16 of the final 17 batters to win his third consecutive start.

Expos 5, Cubs 2

Chris Widger homered and drove in four runs, leading Mike Thurman and Montreal over slumping Chicago.

The visiting Expos won for the fifth time in six games. Chicago has lost 10 of 13.

Sosa, who started the day tied with McGwire for the major league home run lead with 42, went 0-for-4 with a walk.

After Mark Grace’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth, Sosa hit a long fly ball with two runners on for the final out.

Thurman (4-7), winless in his previous seven starts, earned his first victory since June 22. He struck out a career-high seven in six innings.

Ugueth Urbina gave up Grace’s single and retired Sosa for his 23rd save in 29 chances.

Braves 6, Pirates 3

Pinch-hitter Keith Lockhart’s three-run double broke an eighth-inning tie, and Atlanta rallied to avoid a three-game sweep at Pittsburgh.

The Braves climbed within 1 1/2 games of the idle New York Mets in the NL East.

Mike Remlinger (3-1) pitched a scoreless seventh for the victory. John Rocker pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.

Atlanta trailed 3-1 before tying it with two runs against Pete Schourek in the seventh, then went ahead in the eighth against Greg Hansell (1-2).

Phillies 9, Marlins 3

Gary Bennett hit his first major league home run and drove in a career-high four runs as Philadelphia won at Florida.

The win gave the Phillies a sweep of the three-game series and improved their 1999 record against Florida to 11-2.

The Marlins dropped their fifth straight.

Robert Person (6-3) won for the fifth time in six outings since coming to the Phillies in a May trade with Toronto.

Vladimir Nunez (4-5) allowed five runs – two earned – walked four and struck out three.