Mark Whiten caught the ball, cocked his arm and let fly.
Once again a baserunner was daring him to make a perfect throw, and this time the St. Louis Cardinals' right fielder did just that. Luckily for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the damage had already been done.Whiten's throw beat Lance Parrish to third base to complete a double play, the Cardinals' record-tying seventh of the game, and close out the top of the 10th. But the Pirates had already scored three times in the inning, and they held on for a 7-5 victory.
Earlier in the inning, Jeff King lofted a fly ball to Whiten with none out and the bases loaded. Kevin Young scored the tie-breaking run when Whiten's throw went up the first base line.
King said he sweated out the play at the plate.
"With any other mortal guy, it's a no-doubter," King said. "The guy scores standing up. But with Whiten, you never know. When he cut loose with that bazooka, I wasn't sure if we were going to score or not."
Parrish added an RBI fielder's choice in the 10th, then enabled St. Louis to gain a share of the double play record by foolishly trying to take third on Carlos Garcia's sacrifice fly to right.
St. Louis is the fourth team to get seven double plays in a game. The last was the Atlanta Braves in a 14-inning game against Cincinnati on June 27, 1982.
Joe Torre, the Cardinals' manager, was the Braves' manager then, and he didn't remember the game."I hope we won that game so I'm 1-1 in these kind of games," he said.
And first baseman Gregg Jefferies, who participated in the first six double plays, didn't sound like he'd remember the game, either.
"Those double plays are a meaningless stat," Jefferies said. "This is ridiculous. We find a different way to lose every day."
Alejandro Pena (3-2) won despite allowing Gerald Perry's seventh career pinch-hit homer with two outs in the ninth. Rick White came on after Blas Minor gave up a run on Whiten's single in the 10th and earned his sixth save.
Mike Perez (2-2), who came on to start the 10th, took the loss.
Marlins 4, Mets 2
At Miami, rookie Kurt Miller allowed only four hits in 82/3 innings and retired 17 straight at one point in his second major-league start for Florida.
Miller (1-1) sailed after Joe Orsulak's two-run homer in the first inning. His string of 17 straight ended in the ninth when he hit Fernando Vina and walked Bobby Bonilla with two outs. Robb Nen finished for his fourth save.
Kurt Abbott homered for the third consecutive game for Florida, Benito Santiago also homered and Jeff Conine had an RBI double for the Marlins.
Braves 11, Rockies 8
At Atlanta, Charlie O'Brien's two-run homer highlighted a five-run eighth and carried Atlanta to its 19th victory in 20 games against Colorado.
Bruce Ruffin (3-3) allowed five runs, two scoring on Walt Weiss' throwing error, two scoring on O'Brien's fifth homer and the last coming home on a another throwing error, this one by catcher Joe Girardi.
Astros 6, Giants 3
At San Francisco, Tony Eusebio's two two-run homers - his first since April 13 - and Ken Caminiti's 13th homer propelled Houston and sent San Francisco to its ninth loss in 10 home games and seventh loss in eight games overall.
Padres 7, Cubs 1
At San Diego, Andy Ashby pitched a five-hitter to continue his domination and San Diego beat Chicago for the first time in six games this season.
Ashby (3-5) has three complete-game victories and a no-decision in his last four games. He lowered his ERA to 2.67, fifth best in the National League.