The designated-hitter rule, used in alternate World Series, was supposed to help the Milwaukee Brewers. Instead, it has been a blessing to Dane Iorg and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Iorg tonight became the first DH ever to get three extra-base hits in a Series game; he had two doubles and a triple and scored three runs. That raised his four-game average to .500, with seven hits in 14 at bats.
Overall, the Cardinals' designated hitters were batting .409 to .143 for the Brewers, who use the DH during the regular season.
Without the rule, the left-handed-swinging Iorg might never have appeared in the Series. He did not play as the Cardinals swept the Atlanta Braves for the pennant.
"If I hadn't been DH in this World Series, I'd probably have one at bat," Iorg said. "Right now I love the DH rule. I like to play in the field, too, but the positions I play on this ball club are filled pretty capably."
During the regular season, Iorg batted .294 in limited duty that saw him fill in for Lonnie Smith in left field, George Hendrick in right and Keith Hernandez at first base.
In the five-game sweep of the Mets that enabled St. Louis to pull away from Philadelphia in the NL East, Iorg started the winning rally in game four as a cleanup batter subbing for Hendrick, then had a hand in all three runs in the 3-1 final-game victory while hitting third as a replacement for Hernandez.
"This is an exciting time," Iorg said. "There's pressure if you let it get to you. But it's also a chance to showcase your ability. I've had good games before, but of course this has to be the most noteworthy. We knew we had to go out and win that ball game."
Keith Hernandez, 0 for 15 after four Series games, hit a tremendous home run off one of Don Sutton's slider in the fifth inning tonight and helped provide himself with a special birthday present, a seventh game on Wednesday, when he will turn 29.
Asked whether he had been concerned about his inability to hit in the early games, Hernandez said, "Yes, I think in the second game, facing (Don) Sutton. He's a tough pitcher and after he got me out the first two times, I think I started pressing."
Rookie right-hander John Stuper, who allowed only two hits in six innings before the second rain delay, applied heat to his arm during the downpour. When he came out again more than two hours later, he began his warm-up just as he does before a game, by running in the outfield.
"Considering the circumstances and the importance of it, this is the best game of my life," Stuper said. "Whoever pitched had to keep us in the game. Luckily, we got a bunch of runs to keep the heat on them.
"I was very nervous, very pumped up. I'm usually calm, but not today. I was conscious of the rain and I wanted to get them out as quick as possible in the fifth inning, but I wasn't going to be dumb about it. If I got the batter 0-2, I wasn't going to give him a pitch down the middle."
Stuper needed 13 pitches in the fifth to retire the Brewers in order and ensure that the game was official.
Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog said he brought Stuper back after the 2-hour 13-minute second rain delay to give him a chance to pitch a shutout.
"I'd never do that in the regular season, but he's got all winter to rest," Herzog said.
Before tonight's game, Herzog announced that Joaquin Andujar, struck beneath the knee by Ted Simmons' drive in game 3, would start Wednesday.
"My leg feels so-so right now, but I'll give it my best tomorrow," Andujar said. "When the ball hit me, I thought it broke my kneecap. It was the third time I was hit this year."
Asked about the pressure of pitching a seventh game of a World Series, Andujar said, "There is no pressure. It's just like any other game. If you don't throw strikes, you're not going to win."