Polanco home runs seal fifth straight win

Thursday, June 20, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- As they began paying tribute to broadcaster Jack Buck, the St. Louis Cardinals won their fifth straight game, beating the Anaheim Angels 6-2 on Placido Polanco's two home runs Wednesday night.

The Cardinals extended their NL Central lead to two games over the Reds a day after the death of Buck, who was honored in a pregame ceremony and whose closed casket will be at home plate for a visitation on Thursday.

The team carved the initials "JFB" in the grass just beyond the center-field wall and again behind second base. And the bronze bust of Buck at the microphone outside Busch Stadium became a shrine crammed with homemade cards, baseball hats, toy animals, balloons, old framed photographs of the longtime announcer and even a transistor radio tuned to KMOX -- the Cardinals' flagship station.

Polanco tied his career best with four RBIs with his first multihomer game in the majors.

Polanco entered the game with 11 career homers in 1,434 at-bats, and only one in 213 at-bats this year. Polanco homered off Aaron Sele (6-4) with one out in the first to tie it at 1, hit a three-run homer in the fifth for a 6-1 lead and had an infield hit in the seventh.

Albert Pujols also homered for the Cardinals, hitting a two-run shot in the fourth.

Scott Spiezio homered, doubled and singled for the Angels, who have lost four in a row for the first time since April 20-23. Anaheim has been outscored 28-13 during the slump.

Matt Morris (10-4) allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings in his 100th career start. He's 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in his last three starts after going 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA in the previous four outings.

Sele lost for the first time in four starts, giving up six runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. Sele fell to 11-6 in 21 career interleague starts.

The Angels took the lead in the first on a double by David Eckstein and Garret Anderson's two-out single, and Polanco's homer tied it. Pujols' 15th homer in the fourth put the Cardinals ahead 3-1.

Spiezio's fourth homer cut the gap to 6-2 in the sixth.

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