Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

St. Louis leads 1-0 (as of 7/30)

Game 1: Tuesday, July 30
St. Louis 5Final
Florida 0
Game 2: Wednesday, July 31
St. Louis 5Final
Florida 8
Game 3: Thursday, August 1
St. Louis 0Final
Florida 4

Cardinals 5

(59-44, 26-25 away)

Marlins 0

(51-55, 30-24 home)

    7:05 PM ET, July 30, 2002

    Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 000020120 5 - -
    FLA 000000000 0 - -

    W: A. Benes (1-3)

    L: M. Tejera (6-4)

    Renteria homers twice; Rolen has RBI triple

    MIAMI (AP) -- Scott Rolen had been this nervous only twice before: during his major league debut in 1996 and at his first All-Star game earlier this month.

    Scott Rolen went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his first game in a Cardinals uniform.

    Both turned out fine, so maybe this will, too.

    Andy Benes won for the first time in almost a year, Edgar Renteria homered twice and Rolen had an RBI triple in his St. Louis debut as the Cardinals beat the Florida Marlins 5-0 Tuesday night.

    Rolen got two hits and played perfect defense, making his first game with St. Louis a complete success. The 27-year-old third baseman was traded a day earlier following an unhappy stay in Philadelphia.

    ''The game is the same, but tonight had a different feel,'' Rolen said. ''You want everything to work out. You want to do everything you can to help this team. There are a bunch of professionals here. You can tell that right away. These guys don't just show up at the ballpark and go through the motions. They come to win.''

    Winning for the seventh time in nine games, St. Louis remained a season-high five games ahead of Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Cardinals had plenty of highlights, too.

    Benes, still battling arthritis in his right knee, retired 10 of his final 11 batters. He went a season-high 6 1/3 innings -- a great sign for the Cardinals.

    Benes (1-3) allowed four hits, three walks and struck out three to win for the first time since Aug. 13 of last season. It was his first victory as a starter since June 13, 2001.

    ''I've been through a lot this past year,'' said Benes, who might need surgery after the season. ''There was a time I didn't know I would make it back. My attitude now is I look at each time out as an opportunity. That's all I can ask for.''

    Renteria hit solo home runs off Michael Tejera (6-4) in the fifth and seventh innings for the third multihomer game of his career -- second against the Marlins.

    Right-hander Matt Duff struck out two and pitched a perfect ninth in his major league debut.

    Rolen's debut overshadowed it all.

    Greeted by a mixture of cheers and boos, Rolen grounded into a double play in the second inning. He bounced back with a single in the fourth, looking like he might drive in a run until Marlins outfielder Kevin Millar threw out Fernando Vina at home.

    In the eighth, Rolen legged out a triple on a ball hit over center fielder Preston Wilson's head. Rolen also popped out in the sixth.

    ''He's been a prime-time player since he's been up here,'' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

    ''He played a solid game tonight. The most important thing he has to know is that he doesn't have to be anything special in that clubhouse. On the field, we just need him to play the way he does, and we know how strong that is.''

    Rolen batted in the No. 5 spot against the Marlins, joining a powerful lineup that already featured Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols, J.D. Drew and Tino Martinez.

    ''They made a heck of a move getting Rolen,'' said Marlins manager Jeff Torborg, whose club has lost five of seven.

    A healthy Benes could make the Cardinals even stronger for the stretch run.

    He was placed on the disabled list in April and missed more than three months. He returned earlier this month but was limited to just four innings in his first start and then moved to the bullpen for a relief outing.

    Benes was back in the starting rotation last week but took a hard-luck loss by giving up two runs in 4 2/3 innings.

    This start showed even more promise. He struck out Millar to thwart a bases-loaded threat in the first inning, then got double plays to end the second and third.

    He retired 10 in a row before giving up a single to Mike Redmond in the sixth and leaving with a 3-0 lead.

    ''There's a lot of energy here, and that was Scott coming over,'' Benes said. ''He's going to be a solid Gold Glove player for a long time.''

    Martinez led off the fifth inning with his 13th homer, and Renteria followed with his sixth -- the fourth time the Cardinals have hit back-to-back homers this season.

    Rolen's triple made it 4-0, and Martinez followed with an RBI double to cap the scoring.

    Game notes


    The Marlins were shut out for the eighth time this season. ... Renteria's last multihomer game was May 31, 1999, at Florida. ... The Cardinals took advantage of an off day Monday and a left-handed starter Tuesday to give Drew (knee) two days' rest. ... Marlins C Charles Johnson was out of the starting lineup with a sore left thumb -- the same injury that has hindered him all season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES