Polanco's sacrifice fly wins it

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The hottest team in the majors knocked the
Philadelphia Phillies out of sole possession of first place in the
NL East.

Rookie Kerry Robinson started in place of Mark McGwire and made
the most of his opportunity, going 3-for-4 with a stolen base and
two runs scored in St. Louis' 4-3 victory over the Phillies.

It was the ninth straight victory by the Cardinals, who are only
2 1/2 games behind Houston and Chicago in the NL Central.

"He's done well for us this season," St. Louis manager Tony La
Russa said of Robinson. "He's deserving of what he gets in terms
of playing time. He's earned the right to play."

Robinson contributed both at the plate and in the field.

In the seventh inning with two on and two out, Marlon Anderson
hit a fly ball into foul territory. Robinson raced over and put his
glove in the stands and snagged the ball over a fan trying to grab
a souvenir.

"The ball was maybe a seat or two over the wall," Robinson
said. "I had to get up over fan because he was reaching his hand
up there. I had to get up over him. It worked out for us. I'm sure
he was a Cardinal fan but I don't think he was thinking at the

Placido Polanco's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the ninth inning
accounted for the winning run.

"I just wanted to do something for us," said Polanco, who lost
a sacrifice fly in the seventh when Miguel Cairo was called out for
leaving third base too soon. "We're playing good ball right now
and we wanted to win this game. Earlier this year, this might have
been the type of game we would have lost."

Turk Wendell (4-5) was the loser. Dave Veres (3-2) was the

Edgar Renteria led off the ninth inning with a single. Bobby
Bonilla, who entered on a double switch in the ninth, singled with
one out. Renteria took third when Doug Glanville bobbled the ball
for an error. An intentional walk to Fernando Vina loaded the

That brought up Polanco with the infield and outfield playing
in. He delivered a sacrifice fly to deep center to give St. Louis
the victory.

"A day like today is a good day," La Russa said. "There was
great pitching on both sides and good defense. It reminds me how
tough it is to win in this league."

A two-run homer by Pat Burrell in the eighth off Luther Hackman
tied it 3-3. That ruined a fine effort by starter Darryl Kile, who
allowed the Phillies just one run on six hits in seven innings.

In his last 49 2-3 innings, Kile has given up just six earned
runs for an ERA of 1.09. In August, Kile is 3-0 with a 0.60 ERA.

Game notes
Rollins stole his league-leading 39th base in the ninth and
tied manager Larry Bowa for most steals in a season by a
Philadelphia shortstop. He has stolen 34 consecutive bases. ... The
victory gave La Russa 1,800 career wins, which ranks 11th in
baseball history and No. 1 among active managers. ... McGwire has a
.100 career average against Person, with a home run and five
strikeouts. ... Philadelphia is the last Eastern Division foe the
Cardinals will face this year. ... The Cardinals optioned reliever
T.J. Mathews to Triple-A Memphis before the game after activating
reliever Mike Timlin off the 15-day disabled list.