No sweep for the Cardinals, but history for rookie catcher Keith McDonald. The Reds beat St. Louis 12-6 to salvage the final game of the three-game series, and trim the Cards’ lead in the Central back to nine games. McDonald, who had hit a pinch home run Tuesday in his first major league at-bat, became just the second player in history to homer in his first two at-bats, when he went deep in the second inning. Bob Nieman of the St. Louis Browns accomplished the feat in 1951. Fans rewarded McDonald with a long ovation until his teammates pushed him to the dugout steps for a quick curtain call. Ray Lankford hit a pair of home runs for the Cardinals. Slugger Mark McGwire left the game with irritation in his knee. He may sit out through the all-star break. All-star Jim Edmonds also didn’t play, as he continues to battle the flu. Starter Rick Ankiel lasted just five innings, allowing six runs on five hits. The Reds added two runs against reliever Alan Benes, and four more against Heathcliff Slocumb. The Cards host the Giants this weekend before hitting the all-star break. McGwire and Barry Bonds may both be out. Bonds has a stress fracture in his thumb.
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