Cards sneak out a win, minus the accusations

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- If the Chicago Cubs were stealing Matt Morris' signs, it didn't help.

Morris pitched a four-hitter as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cubs and Kerry Wood 3-0 Monday night in their first game since accusations last week at Wrigley Field.

"There's a lot going on this week, a lot of talk," Morris said. "Everything was blown out of proportion, so I just wanted to lock it in. I knew I had to, with Wood out there."

In Morris' previous start, he gave up a home run to Sammy Sosa, prompting the Cardinals to claim the Cubs slugger got help on pitch location from his coaches.

Morris reacted by saying he might throw a pitch in someone's ear the next time he faced the Cubs. Earlier Monday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Morris apologized for his comments.

This time, Sosa was held to a single in four at-bats as the Cubs lost their fifth in a row in a game that had no apparent signs of animosity between the teams.

Afterward, Wood ripped his team.

"I'm getting real tired of hearing ... 'Keep your head up, we'll get them tomorrow.' This ain't working," he said.

Sosa, something of a fan favorite in St. Louis from his home run battles with Mark McGwire in 1998 and '99, was booed before each of his at-bats against Morris.

"Sammy's a great hitter and I'm just trying to get him out," Morris said. "He got me in the first inning and I threw him a couple of curveballs after that."

Morris (6-2) struck out seven, walked two and retired 20 of the 21 batters in one stretch. The Cardinals won for the fourth time in five games.

Last week he held the Cubs to four hits in eight innings and got the win in a 3-2 victory. This was his third career shutout.

"Every time out, he leaves you just a little crack or opening and then he pitches out of it," Cubs manager Don Baylor said. "He's been sensational against us."

Tino Martinez hit his third homer, and first in 33 at-bats since May 1, in the sixth. Martinez, who had 34 homers for the Yankees last year, lined a first-pitch fastball from Wood (4-3) over the right-field wall after Jim Edmonds drew a two-out walk.

"I think about hitting the ball hard, wherever it's pitched," said Martinez, who's batting .205. "Fortunately, it went out of the park."

It was the first home run allowed in 49 innings this season by Wood.

"I've seen Edmonds hit one too many times in that situation," Wood said. "I outthought myself and pitched around him to try and get the next guy out and it backfired on me."

Wood, who lasted six innings, also handed the Cardinals a run with a wild pitch in the fourth. Wood walked three in the fourth and needed 44 pitches to get out of the inning and strand the bases full, getting Edgar Renteria on a lineout and striking out Kerry Robinson on an 11-pitch at-bat.

Wood beat the Cardinals with a four-hit shutout last Tuesday.

Morris is 9-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his last 11 starts at Busch Stadium, where he hasn't lost since July 24, 2001, to the Astros. He's 7-2 for his career against the Cubs.

Morris also has won 17 of his last 18 home starts and has an overall 31-13 record and 2.33 ERA at Busch.

Noteworthy

  • C Mike DiFelice threw wildly on Sosa's steal in the first, ending a 54-inning errorless streak by the Cardinals.

  • Monday was the one-year anniversary of Cubs 3B Bill Mueller's broken kneecap suffered making a sliding catch into the wall in foul ground at Busch.

  • The Cubs are 7-9 one the road, 6-14 at home.

  • Morris has eight career complete games. The four hits allowed ties his career best.

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