Cardinals romp past LA

Monday, September 10, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- T.J. Mathews, who's with the St. Louis Cardinals only because of expanded rosters this month, gave his team a huge lift.

Mathews threw 4 1-3 perfect innings after a lengthy rain delay in an 8-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a matchup of wild card contenders Sunday.

"I knew there was something going on," Mathews said of his success streak. "You can't think about that when you're out there.

"That's all great and all, but I'm just trying to help the team," he said.

Jim Edmonds continued a second-half surge with a grand slam for the Cardinals, who have won five of six. Fernando Vina hit his third leadoff homer of the year and was 4-for-5 with two RBIs.

St. Louis remained one game behind San Francisco in the wild card race.

The game was delayed 2:04 after the first inning, costing Matt Morris a chance at his 20th victory. Morris, who had won seven straight starts, threw only 14 pitches and allowed one hit in the first.

He'll get another chance at No. 20 on Friday.

"I felt great out there and I was excited," Morris said. "Things just didn't work out."

Park has problems

Chan Ho Park (13-10) came back after the delay and it cost him as he allowed seven runs in 3 2-3 innings, his second-worst start of the season. Park, whose ERA climbed from 2.99 to 3.23, gave up seven runs in 3 1-3 innings July 13 at Oakland.

"We wanted to see how he felt," manager Jim Tracy said. "He said he felt fine. As a matter of fact, he said he felt better."

Park also was working on three days' rest for the first time this season.

"I know that pitchers can pitch on three days' rest, I absolutely know that," pitching coach Jim Colburn said. "It's been proven over the history of time.

"Whether they think they can is another thing."

The Cardinals got all five of their runs in the fourth with two outs. Mike Matheny and reliever Luther Hackman struck out before Vina drag-bunted for a hit, Placido Polanco singled and J.D. Drew hit a broken-bat RBI single for a 3-1 lead.

Park hit Albert Pujols in the back with a pitch before Edmonds hit his 26th homer over the center-field wall on a 3-1 pitch.

"I got lucky," Edmonds said. "He made a decent pitch."

Mathews, released earlier this year by Oakland and demoted to Triple-A Memphis on Aug. 17 after a short stint with St. Louis, entered after Hackman walked three straight batters -- including Eric Karros on four pitches with the bases loaded -- in the third to cut the gap to 2-1.

Adrian Beltre flied out to end the inning and Mathews (1-0) struck out five and walked none the next four innings.

Mathews hasn't allowed a run in 7 2-3 innings for the Cardinals.

"It's kind of hard to believe he could throw that many pitches and keep his effectiveness," manager Tony La Russa said. "What a lift when you face pitching eight innings from your bullpen and we were thinking, 'Oh, man."'

The Cardinals won despite striking out 12 times against four Dodgers pitchers. Craig Paquette and Matheny, who hit his seventh homer in the seventh off Mike Trombley for an 8-1 lead, fanned three times apiece.

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