Tomko finds satisfaction; Cardinals pick up a win

Sunday, March 16, 2003

JUPITER, Fla. -- The results -- three runs allowed in four innings -- weren't as important to Brett Tomko as the feeling he had on the mound in the Cardinals' 10-6 victory over the Montreal Expos on Saturday.

Tomko allowed a run in each of the first three innings. Two starts ago he allowed one hit in four innings, also against the Expos, but had better mechanics this time.

"I've been fighting myself every start, and I felt really good," Tomko said. "It just boiled down to making some mental mistakes you hope you can eliminate. But I felt free and easy."

Tomko has been ineffective his last two outings, allowing four runs in 3 2/3 innings Monday against the Braves. He's slated to be the Cardinals' No. 3 starter after being acquired in the offseason from the Padres, where he was 10-10 last season.

Tomko helped himself with a bases-loaded single to drive in the first run in the fourth.

"If I don't put the ball in play, who knows how that inning plays out?" Tomko said.

Orlando Palmeiro was 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs, his first of the spring, for the Cardinals. Miguel Cairo and Fernando Vina each had two hits and two RBIs.

Valentino Pascucci had a two-run home run off Russ Springer in the sixth for the Expos. Pascucci was optioned to Triple-A Edmonton on Friday.

The game was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 37 minutes with two outs in the Cardinals' five-run fourth against Tomo Ohka. The field required extra work after the grounds crew struggled to cover the field with the tarp, needing 13 minutes to get the job done.

Ohka also has not had good results. He allowed eight runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Cardinals after giving up four runs on 3 2/3 innings in his last appearance against the Padres and has a 12.54 spring ERA.

Vina was 2-for-2 with a walk and is batting .400 this spring with four RBIs. So Taguchi, competing for an extra outfield spot, was 3-for-5.

Jamey Carroll had an RBI single and Vladimir Guerrero added a sacrifice fly for the Expos, whose seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) came to an end.

Noteworthy

  • Cardinals OF J.D. Drew, recuperating from offseason knee surgery, took batting practice for the first time on Saturday

    CF Jim Edmonds, out since March 7 with a calf injury, reported improvement and is hopeful of getting into some games before the season opener. "I feel really good, actually," he said.

    Damon Buford had two hits, a walk and scored twice for the Expos.

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