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Maurizio Cattelan, Zoe Saldana join iconoclastic Vatican Biennale exhibition inside women’s prison

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Maurizio Cattelan, Zoe Saldana join iconoclastic Vatican Biennale exhibition inside women’s prison
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Maurizio Cattelan, Zoe Saldana join iconoclastic Vatican Biennale exhibition inside women’s prison

2024-04-20 13:57 Last Updated At:14:10

VENICE, Italy (AP) — A pair of nude feet — dirty, wounded and vulnerable — are painted on the façade of the Venice women’s prison chapel. It's the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale contemporary art show in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists.

That Cattelan is the lead artist is striking, given that his provocative life-size wax statue of Pope John Paul II lying on his side, crushed by a massive meteorite, shocked Catholics when it was displayed at the 2001 Biennale. The new work, titled “Father,” is considered a thematic counterpoint to a performance piece he produced for the 1999 Biennale titled “Mother,” during which a religious ascetic was buried under sand, with only his hands clasped in prayer showing.

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U.S. actress Zoe Saldana looks to her husband and movie director Marco Perego during press preview inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

VENICE, Italy (AP) — A pair of nude feet — dirty, wounded and vulnerable — are painted on the façade of the Venice women’s prison chapel. It's the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale contemporary art show in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists.

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Claire Tabouret is displayed inside the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Claire Tabouret is displayed inside the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Sonia Gomes is displayed inside the church Santa Maria Maddalena Convertita at the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Sonia Gomes is displayed inside the church Santa Maria Maddalena Convertita at the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Sonia Gomes is displayed inside the church Santa Maria Maddalena Convertita at the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Sonia Gomes is displayed inside the church Santa Maria Maddalena Convertita at the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Reporters watches an installation by artist Corita Kent displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Reporters watches an installation by artist Corita Kent displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation 'White Sight' by artist Claire Fontaine is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation 'White Sight' by artist Claire Fontaine is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation 'Siamo con voi nella notte' (We are with you overnight) by artist Claire Fontaine is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation 'Siamo con voi nella notte' (We are with you overnight) by artist Claire Fontaine is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation '"I piedi, insieme al cuore, portano la stanchezza e il peso della vita" ('The feet, together with the heart, carry the tiredness and weight of life') by Italian artist Maurizio Catalan is displayed on the facade of the church next to the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation '"I piedi, insieme al cuore, portano la stanchezza e il peso della vita" ('The feet, together with the heart, carry the tiredness and weight of life') by Italian artist Maurizio Catalan is displayed on the facade of the church next to the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The Vatican’s culture minister, Cardinal Jose Tolentino de Mendonca, praised the work, which he said recalled the naked, dirty feet of Caravaggio’s saints, while also being highly symbolic of the journey behind the Holy See’s pavilion, showing “the desire to dirty one’s feet, to show that whoever has feet has a carnality.’’

Tolentino de Mendonca, prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, said the Vatican did not want to shy away from artists or works that might be considered iconoclastic, or critical of institutions like the Catholic church.

“Pope Francis calls us to dialogue. Dialogue is not just with the people who are mirrors of ourselves,’’ he told The Associated Press. “We did not seek out easy artists. We sought real artists. Cattelan’s work is very interesting under a religious point of view, because there is something iconoclastic in his work, but also in the mystic there is something that can be called iconoclastic, in the sense of deconstructing the religious representation.’’

Pope Francis, who met with over 200 artists in the Sistine Chapel last year, will see for himself when he visits the pavilion April 28, meeting inmates and artists, and according to the prefect not just the ones participating in the pavilion.

Cattelan, who wandered by the work as preview tours continued this week, declined to discuss his contribution but said the feet would be reproduced on a church in Rome in the future.

Cattelan’s artwork can be viewed by anyone who makes the trek to the Giudecca island prison. Those who want to see the other works will be guided through the prison on four daily tours by inmates, leaving bags and mobile phones in lockup.

Closed Wednesdays, a maximum 600 people will view the pavilion each week during the Biennale's run from April 20-Nov. 26. The 60th International Art Exhibition comprises 88 national pavilion s along with a main show curated this year by Brazilian Adriano Pedrosa.

On a recent tour, three inmates wearing elegant black and white smocks made by prison seamstresses guided journalists through an installation by Simone Fattal who transformed inmates’ poems into small ceramic plaques hung along a brick alleyway.

The tour continued to a prison coffee bar decorated with posters by onetime Catholic nun Corita Kent and into a gallery where Claire Tabouret has painted images from photographs provided by inmates of themselves and loved ones.

The conceptual artistic duo known as Claire Fontaine provided a neon eye with a slash through it for an outdoor corridor, and another neon sign that reads: “Siamo con voi nella notte," (“We are with all of you in the night”).

That sign, in a courtyard where the inmates can gather during the day, provides a reassuring blue glow into the overlooking cells where they sleep.

“When we read this writing, it gives us encouragement, because there is someone with us day and night,” said one inmate named Manuela, who like the others declined to give their full names. “At night, we see the blue light, so we know it is there.”

The tour ended with a 15-minute film by Italian director Marco Perego starring his wife, actor Zoe Saldana, both of whom tagged along. Saldana plays an inmate in her final hours before release, and she took inspiration from the inmates who appeared in the film. To protect their privacy, the film can only be seen within the prison walls.

“What we wanted to provide for them was just a little bit of visibility, and to add a little bit of levity through art, which is exactly what we accomplished,’’ Saldana said.

Their desire for visibility was expressed in letters that the women gave the couple each night after filming, and through requests to pose with the couple for photos, which Saldana said they printed as keepsakes for the women.

Chiara Parisi, the director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz and one of the curators, said the project created a unique synergy between artists and inmates that opened lines of empathy. After the pavilion closes at the end of the Biennale, she said a coat of paint would likely cover Cattelan’s work, while the other pieces will find other venues; she said she hoped its larger legacy would be other similar initiatives.

“Through this pavilion, we hope to truly demonstrate the desire for freedom, the work to get out, to be free is something essential," Parisi told AP. “Detention is a moment in their lives, and the artists say so, they themselves say so. Just a moment, a photograph, that should not impact what comes after, should not prejudice their future lives.”

U.S. actress Zoe Saldana looks to her husband and movie director Marco Perego during press preview inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

U.S. actress Zoe Saldana looks to her husband and movie director Marco Perego during press preview inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Claire Tabouret is displayed inside the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Claire Tabouret is displayed inside the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Sonia Gomes is displayed inside the church Santa Maria Maddalena Convertita at the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Sonia Gomes is displayed inside the church Santa Maria Maddalena Convertita at the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Sonia Gomes is displayed inside the church Santa Maria Maddalena Convertita at the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Sonia Gomes is displayed inside the church Santa Maria Maddalena Convertita at the women's prison of he Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Reporters watches an installation by artist Corita Kent displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Reporters watches an installation by artist Corita Kent displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An installation by artist Simone Fattal is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation 'White Sight' by artist Claire Fontaine is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation 'White Sight' by artist Claire Fontaine is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation 'Siamo con voi nella notte' (We are with you overnight) by artist Claire Fontaine is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation 'Siamo con voi nella notte' (We are with you overnight) by artist Claire Fontaine is displayed inside the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation '"I piedi, insieme al cuore, portano la stanchezza e il peso della vita" ('The feet, together with the heart, carry the tiredness and weight of life') by Italian artist Maurizio Catalan is displayed on the facade of the church next to the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The installation '"I piedi, insieme al cuore, portano la stanchezza e il peso della vita" ('The feet, together with the heart, carry the tiredness and weight of life') by Italian artist Maurizio Catalan is displayed on the facade of the church next to the women's prison at the Giudecca island during the 60th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A pair of nude feet dirty, wounded and vulnerable are painted on the façade of the Venice women's prison chapel, the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and part of the Vatican's pavilion at the Venice Biennale in an innovative collaboration between inmates and artists. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

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Michael Siani hits his first homer and drives in 4 as Cardinals beat Orioles 6-3

2024-05-21 11:49 Last Updated At:11:50

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Michael Siani hit his first career home run and drove in four runs, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 on Monday night.

Siani’s three-run homer into the right field bullpen capped a four-run fourth inning that gave the Cardinals a 5-0 lead. It was the first homer in 91 career plate appearances for Siani, who spent parts of the 2022 and 2023 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before being selected off waivers by the Cardinals last September.

“Just stay confident in myself, taking it one at-bat at a time, keeping it simple, you know, trusting my approach is going to be good, especially with runners in scoring position,” Siani said. “You know tonight getting those two hits is great and builds confidence and helps the team out.”

Sianni’s homer came two pitches after taking a ball down 0-2 that the Orioles thought was strike three, but home plate umpire Laz Diaz called ball one on the Dean Kremer fastball.

“I didn’t know it was a missed call until after, but I’m not here to complain,” Kremer said. “Just didn’t execute after that. Showed him one too many fastballs and he timed up that next one.”

Sonny Gray gave up three runs, just one earned, in 5 2/3 innings as the Cardinals won for the sixth time in their last eight games. Gray (6-2) allowed three hits, walked two and struck out six.

Gray took a no-hitter into the sixth only to have it unceremoniously ended by a three-run homer by Gunnar Henderson to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 5-3. Henderson’s 417-foot blast to the left-center field bleachers scored Cedric Mullins and Jorge Mateo, each of whom reached on consecutive fielding errors by St. Louis shortstop Masyn Winn. It was Henderson’s major league-leading 16th of the season and his fourth in as many games.

JoJo Romero got the final out of the sixth after Gray surrendered hits to Ryan O’Hearn and Jordan Westburg following the homer. Gray threw 31 of his 88 pitches in the sixth.

“I felt great the whole time,” Gray said. “That’s just a long inning deep in the game. I mean, I almost doubled my pitch count one inning. I felt good. I felt great going out for the sixth. I felt great probably 20 to 25 pitches through the sixth and then like I said, the last five or so I threw I just felt like that’s just a lot of pitches.”

Romero pitched a scoreless seventh and John King and Andrew Kittredge combined for a scoreless eighth, before Ryan Helsley earned his 14th save in 15 chances.

Kremer (3-4) lasted just four innings, tying a season-low, as the Orioles lost their fourth game in their last seven. Kremer allowed five runs on six hits, walked three and struck out two.

“I just didn’t think he had his best fastball tonight, honestly,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I know he was getting ahead of hitters early, had a tough time putting guys away, the missed call on the punch out before the homer was big.”

Siani singled home Nolan Gorman to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the second.

“Siani’s taking really good at-bats,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “A big homer today, the clubhouse is feeling pretty good about that now … he plays the game the right way and defensively, he’s elite.”

Winn ignited the four-run fourth with an RBI double to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. Winn added an RBI single in the sixth to make it 6-3 Cardinals.

TRANSACTIONS

The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Ryan Loutos and optioned RHP Chris Roycroft to Triple-A Memphis. St. Louis also designated 1B/OF Alfonso Rivas III for assignment.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: RHP Giovanny Gallegos (right shoulder impingement) is scheduled to throw another bullpen on Tuesday and RHP Keynan Middleton (right forearm flexor strain) is scheduled to appear in back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday as his rehab progresses at Double-A Springfield.

UP NEXT

The Cardinals will send RHP Lance Lynn (1-2, 4.17 ERA) to the mound against RHP Kyle Brandish (0-0, 2.63) on Tuesday night. Lynn settled in to work five innings after allowing four first inning runs in a loss to the Angels last Wednesday. Brandish earned his first career win in his only prior start against St. Louis on May 10, 2022.

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dean Kremer throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dean Kremer throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Sonny Gray throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Sonny Gray throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

Baltimore Orioles right fielder Colton Cowser catches a fly ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals' Nolan Arenado in the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

Baltimore Orioles right fielder Colton Cowser catches a fly ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals' Nolan Arenado in the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

Baltimore Orioles' Gunnar Henderson, right, watches his three-run home run next to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ivan Herrera, left, in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

Baltimore Orioles' Gunnar Henderson, right, watches his three-run home run next to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ivan Herrera, left, in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

St. Louis Cardinals' Nolan Gorman (16) is congratulated after scoring a run in the second inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

St. Louis Cardinals' Nolan Gorman (16) is congratulated after scoring a run in the second inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after their victory over the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after their victory over the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

St. Louis Cardinals' Michael Siani watches his three-run home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

St. Louis Cardinals' Michael Siani watches his three-run home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

St. Louis Cardinals' Michael Siani (63), right, celebrates with teammate Masyn Winn, left, after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

St. Louis Cardinals' Michael Siani (63), right, celebrates with teammate Masyn Winn, left, after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, May 20, 2024, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

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