Win streak no more- Reds stump Morris

Sunday, May 19, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Morris can't win them all at home.

Juan Encarnacion hit a two-run homer and Todd Walker was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles as the Cincinnati Reds beat up on Morris and the St. Louis Cardinals for a 7-3 victory Saturday.

"It's pretty tough to beat Morris anytime," Reds manager Bob Boone said. "We had the bats going today. It's a funny game, you can never figure it."

Morris entered the game with a nine-game winning streak at home, compiling a 1.44 ERA since his last loss July 24, 2001, to the Astros.

Jose Rijo (4-1) allowed two runs in five innings for the Reds, whose four-game winning streak was ended Friday night by the Cardinals. This time, the Reds put a stop to St. Louis' five-game winning streak and regained their five-game lead in the NL Central.

"You go out there before the game starts and you know you're going to face Morris, you've got to be honest: Your chances are very limited," Rijo said. "But you've got to play the game."

Encarnacion ended a 1-for-17 slump when he connected for his 10th homer in the second off a hanging curveball from Morris (6-3) for a 2-0 lead.

The homer ended 17 straight scoreless innings by Morris, who threw a four-hit shutout over the Cubs on Monday, and hadn't allowed a run since Sammy Sosa hit a two-run homer in the first inning at Chicago on May 8.

Walker, who's 9-for-16 the last four games with four RBIs, drove in a run in the fourth and sixth and also singled in the eighth. He figured the going would be tougher against Morris, a 22-game winner last year.

"He threw some good curveballs and he threw some hangers," Walker said. "I don't think, just judging by his numbers, that he hangs a whole lot of curveballs and he left it up quite a few times today."

Morris had given up just three earned runs in 30 innings at home this year for an 0.90 ERA before Saturday, when he have up seven runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings.

Morris is 17-2 in his last 19 starts at Busch Stadium.

"I know I enjoy pitching here and I feel comfortable, but it was bound to happen, I guess," Morris said. "But that doesn't make it any easier."

Morris said he struggled because he wasn't able to establish his sinker.

"I gave up a lot of hits on my curveball and hung one to Encarnacion, and kind of got out of my game plan," Morris said. "It was a bad game and hopefully next Thursday I'll be back to where I was."

Walker's RBI single made it 3-0 in the fourth and the Reds chased Morris with four runs and six hits in the sixth. Walker and Corky Miller had RBI singles and pinch-hitter Brady Clark added a two-run double for a 7-2 lead.

Rijo, who struck out three and walked none, made his first start against the Cardinals since he threw seven scoreless innings on May 27, 1995, at Busch Stadium. He's 5-1 with a 2.22 ERA for his career against St. Louis.

The Cardinals scored twice in the fifth on Tino Martinez' fourth homer and an RBI single by Fernando Vina. St. Louis, which has won seven of nine, dropped back to .500.

Notes: Before the game, the Cardinals dedicated a statue in honor of Hall of Famer James "Cool Papa" Bell, a lifelong St. Louis resident, outside the stadium. It's the 10th in a series of statues dedicated to Cardinals, Browns and Negro League Hall of Famers. ... Morris had a career-best 18-inning scoreless streak Sept. 16-27, 1998. ... Martinez' homer in the fifth was only the fourth allowed in 74 innings by Reds pitchers. ... The Cardinals outscored their opponents 31-12 during their winning streak. ... Reds reliever Scott Williamson worked a scoreless sixth and hasn't allowed a run in 13 innings since April 17.

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