The Cardinals beat the Devil Rays, 8-5, moving St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa ahead of Bucky Harris for fourth on the career wins list with 2,158 yesterday. Sparky Anderson is third with 2,194 wins.
The series sweep boosted the Cardinals' NL-best record to 44-24, the club's best start since 1944.
"The big thing to happen today, this is the first time we've been 20 over [.500]. It's a really good number for this part of the season," La Russa said.
* UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM: Manager Jack McKeon wasn't going to give Vladimir Guerrero an opportunity to beat his Marlins again.
One day after watching Guerrero hit late-inning solo home runs against relievers Jim Mecir and Todd Jones, McKeon had Guillermo Mota intentionally walk the reigning AL MVP in the eighth inning with two men in scoring position and first base open -- putting the potential go-ahead run on base. The unorthodox move worked, and the Marlins held on to win.
* ON THE FARM: Cubs RHP Kerry Wood pitched four innings and struck out six in his second rehabilitation start for Class AAA Iowa. Wood is expected to make at least one more rehab start before being activated.
* BACK IN ACTION: Lance Niekro homered in his return to the Giants' lineup after missing five days with an injured big toe. His father, Joe Niekro, pitched for Detroit from 1970 to '72.
* YES, THE PIRATES: Pittsburgh is the majors' only team with an extra-base hit in every game this season.
* DOMINANT IN EITHER LEAGUE: AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana lost to an NL team -- San Diego -- for the first time since June 10, 2002, against Atlanta, falling to 11-2 in interleague play.
-- From News Services