Jeff Banister, the Pirates' bench coach, has been forced to serve as manager only once this summer. That was May 2 in St. Louis, and cruel as fate can be, it was on that night that the team's heart-and-soul, 27-year employee had to make what still stands as the season's most compelling managerial decision.

It brings a cringe even now.

A.J. Burnett was getting crushed, his pitches flat and the Cardinals' bats in flames.

"He had nothing," Banister was recalling Tuesday in the visitors' dugout at Great American Ball Park. "It was just boom, boom, boom."

Clint Hurdle had been ejected for arguing, so Banister was in charge as the Cardinals took a 7-0 lead through two innings.

He sent Burnett back out for the third.