8th Longest Home Run Game Recap
Cardinals 6, White Sox 1

ST. LOUIS (Sep 3, 1997 - 00:09 EDT) -- Talk about tale of the tape: The St. Louis Cardinals unloaded 1,383 feet of home runs on Chicago White Sox pitching.

Mark McGwire hit his fourth 500-foot home run of the year off the left-field scoreboard and Ron Gant hit one of his two homers off the Stadium Club in left as the Cardinals beat the Chicago White Sox 6-1 Tuesday night.

Like everybody else in the stadium, the White Sox watched the show.

"What can you do?" outfielder Mark Cameron said of McGwire's 504-foot blast. "He's a guy with great power and when he gets one in the air, it's got a chance to get out."

Reliever Michael Sirotka was among those rubber-necking after serving up Gant's 481-foot shot in the seventh.

"I knew he got it pretty good, so I kind of wanted to see where it landed," Sirotka said. "Sometimes you won't look, but I knew he got that one pretty good."

McGwire's 44th home run, and 10th in 28 games with the Cardinals, was a two-run shot off Jaime Navarro (9-13). The homer, which highlighted a four-run first inning, was the longest at Busch Stadium since the team began estimating distances in 1988.

Not that he noticed.

"I don't keep track of that, I let you guys do that," McGwire told reporters. "You don't get a prize, you don't anything for it.

"So there's no reason to keep track of it."

Count Gant among McGwire's admirers. McGwire's arrival has seemed to relax him.

"I've hit some long ones before, but I've never hit any like Mark has," Gant said. "That's just phenomenal. I've never seen anything like that."

The Cardinals have won five of seven and are six games behind NL Central-leading Houston with 24 games to go. It's the closest they've been to the front since July 29, when they also were six out.

"I don't think we've ever been out of it," McGwire said. "Funny things have happened in August and September, everybody knows that."

McGwire hadn't started in two of the last three games due to a bruised shin caused by a foul ball off his leg. He now wears a protective guard.

Two batters after McGwire's home run, Gant hit a 398-foot home run over the left-field wall -- his first since July 19.

Andy Benes (10-7) gave up one run and six hits in seven innings. He has won consecutive starts after winning only one of his previous five outings.

All four of McGwire's 500-footers have come this year, two with the Cardinals and two with the Oakland Athletics, who traded him to St. Louis on July 31.

McGwire's 538-footer against Randy Johnson at Seattle on June 24 is the longest in the major leagues this season. He hit a 514-foot home run at Detroit in April and a 500-foot home run at Miami on Aug. 22.

David Bell added a run-scoring single in the inning and Royce Clayton, who doubled and scored on McGwire's blast, had an RBI double in the second.

Chicago scored its only run on Frank Thomas' RBI single in the eighth off Jose Bautista.

Navarro (9-13) had another poor outing, lasting only two innings and giving up five runs on seven hits. He is 1-5 in his last eight starts, surrendering 45 earned runs in 47 1-3 innings.

"I pretty much talk about what a guy did tonight, I don't go back in time," White Sox manager Terry Bevington said. "He struggled tonight."

Notes: Thomas hadn't played first base since Aug. 8 before starting the last two games there due to the lack of a DH. ... Clayton had three hits and is 16-for-41 (.390) in his last nine games. ... The Cardinals have won five of their last seven. ... Albert Belle, ejected for the first time this year on Monday for arguing a called third strike, had two hits for the White Sox and is 21-for-52 (.404) with 16 RBIs in the last 12 games. ... Chicago's four-game winning streak against the NL Central ended. ... The White Sox are 8-6 in interleague play, the Cardinals 7-7. ... Gant has 12 multi-homer games, but this was his first since July 1996.