Cards pummel Rangers

Monday, June 14, 2004

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The St. Louis Cardinals might not want to go home.

After batting around in each of the first two innings and building a 10-run lead, the Cardinals completed another winning road trip with a 13-2 win Sunday over the Texas Rangers.

"It's the same game here, in St. Louis and everywhere," said catcher Yadier Molina, who drove in three runs. "Let's go play the same game we played here."

The Cardinals have the majors' best road record at 23-12. By winning two of three in their first regular-season visit to Texas, they went 4-3 on the latest travels and haven't had a losing trip.

Now in the NL Central lead, the Cardinals play nine straight games at home, where they are just 13-15.

"Going home, we need to play better and find a way to win games there, and make it hard for visiting teams," said Woody Williams, who allowed just one run over six innings.

Playing without manager Tony La Russa, who was in California for his daughter's college graduation, the Cardinals built a 13-0 lead after four innings.

After Scott Rolen's 17th homer, a two-run shot with two outs in the first, the Cardinals loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before Molina's two-run single made it 4-0.

Half of the Cardinals' six runs in the second came on John Mabry's three-run homer -- on the second pitch after R.A. Dickey (4-6) left. That came after Rolen's double and Hector Luna's two-run single.

Dickey gave up nine runs on eight hits and three walks over 1 1-3 innings, the shortest of his 26 career starts. He's 0-6 in eight starts since his last win May 2.

"I never really gave us a chance," Dickey said. "I was trying to work quickly and get us in the dugout as quick as I can. I'm just going through a cold stretch."

Williams (4-6) didn't allow a hit until Mark Teixeira's leadoff single in the fifth, when the Cardinals already led 13-0.

Texas managed just a run on four hits over six innings against Williams, who five days earlier gave up a career-worst 12 hits in five innings in a loss to the Chicago Cubs.

"I located balls better, but I don't think there's a whole lot of difference other than the outcome," Williams said.

Roger Cedeno had three hits for the Cardinals, including a two-run homer in the third. Luna had three hits and scored three times, the last when he had a leadoff triple in the fourth and came home on Molina's sacrifice fly.

Gary Matthews Jr. drove home Teixeira with a single in the fifth and added a solo homer in the seventh.

Matthews entered in the second for center fielder Laynce Nix, who injured his right shoulder slamming into the wall while unsuccessfully trying to rob Rolen's homer.

Manager Buck Showalter said Nix has a strained shoulder and will likely be out at least 10 to 14 days.

St. Louis led 12-0 in the third when a foul ball hit into the stands by Matthews got more attention than anything on the field.

In the ensuing scramble, a husky man jumped over a row of seats and pinned a 4-year-old boy against the seats with his legs while diving to get the ball. To no avail, fans started chanting "Give him the ball! Give him the ball!"

But the boy, who wasn't injured, ended up with much more than one ball. In the next few minutes, both teams sent bats and balls to the boy, including Cardinals outfielder Reggie Sanders coming out between innings to do so.

"In my heart, I thought I should do something," said Sanders, who initially saw the incident on the clubhouse TV. "It's all about the kids."

There was also a little extra for the man who got the ball, but he left two innings later and never received the Cardinals T-shirt on which "Tough Guy" and "Ball Stealer" was written by reliever Steve Kline.

"I'm a big fan of giving kids balls. He was a real jerk about it," Kline said. "That's part of life, people like that in the world. They do something like that. I don't understand."NOTEWORTHY

n Albert Pujols was 0-for-5, finishing 1-for-14 as the St. Louis DH in the series, which came after he missed four games last week with a strained hamstring.

  • St. Louis is 3-0 without La Russa. The Cards won both last weekend when the manager served a two-game suspension.

  • Texas plays 20 of its next 26 games on the road.

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