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Burnett leads majors with fourth shutout this year

8/1/2002

MIAMI (AP) -- A.J. Burnett was throwing 99 mph in the first and
ninth innings, making it a tough night for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Burnett pitched a four-hitter for his major league-leading
fourth shutout as the Florida Marlins beat the Cardinals 4-0
Thursday night.

Burnett (11-7) struck out seven, walked three and won his third
consecutive start. He also tied his career high for wins in a
season, set last year.

"I'm a bad dude,'' said Burnett, a confident, 25-year-old
right-hander who has become the staff ace. "I come right after
guys. I'm a bulldog out there.''

The Marlins beat Cardinals for the second consecutive game and
finished 4-2 against them this season. St. Louis' lone highlight
was a triple play in the sixth inning -- the team's first triple
play in more than nine years.

Florida also handed left-hander Chuck Finley his first loss
since being traded from Cleveland to St. Louis on July 19.

"Some nights you just match up against guys, and right out of
the shoot, they're dealing,'' Finley said. "I just made a few bad
pitches here and there, and obviously tonight, it was enough to
beat us.''

Finley (2-1) won his first two starts. He pitched well again
Thursday, giving up six hits and two earned runs in seven innings,
but Burnett was better.

He leads the NL with five complete games, and has given up four
or fewer runs in nine of his last 10 starts.

"You just have to sit back become a fan because he's fun to
watch,'' Florida's Derrek Lee said. "He's something special. They
didn't have much of a chance against him in the ninth inning. He
takes it up another notch. He smells that shutout. He's almost
unhittable then.''

With one out in the ninth, Burnett struck out Eli Marrero with a
98 mph fastball. Then he threw three consecutive fastballs to Jim
Edmonds that registered 97, 98 and 99 on the radar gun.

"If you're throwing that hard and throwing the ball over the
plate, you're keeping everybody off balance,'' Cardinals second
baseman Fernando Vina said.

Burnett has 163 strikeouts, third in the NL behind Arizona's
Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. Teamed with rising stars Josh
Beckett and Brad Penny, Burnett gives the Marlins hope for having
one of the best core of starters in the league.

"They've got guys that throw a billion over here,'' Cardinals
outfielder J.D. Drew said. "But that's probably the best I've seen
him. He's usually effectively wild.''

Florida built Burnett a lead with runs in the second, third and
fifth innings. Mike Redmond doubled in the second and Mike Mordecai
followed with an RBI single.

The Marlins made it 2-0 in the third without a hit. Luis
Castillo reached on shortstop Edgar Renteria's fielding error,
stole second and moved to third on catcher Mike Matheny's errant
throw. He scored Preston Wilson's sacrifice fly.

Mordecai walked to start the fifth, moved to second on a
sacrifice bunt and scored on Castillo's fifth triple of the season.

Florida made it 4-0 in the eighth with consecutive singles from
Lowell, Lee and Owens.

In the sixth, the Cardinals turned the fourth triple play this
season in the major leagues. The last one also involved the
Marlins, who turned the first triple play in club history Sunday
against the Montreal Expos.

With Mike Lowell running from first and Lee on the move from
second, Eric Owens lined to right. Drew caught the ball on the run
and threw to Renteria at second to double up Lowell. Renteria then
turned and finished the triple play with a relay to first that
easily beat Lee, who said he thought there was one out.

"I should have gotten back to first,'' Lee said. "When (Drew)
threw it to second to get Mike, I thought that was it. I knew I
messed up.''

Game notes
The Cardinals last turned a triple play May 11, 1993,
against the New York Mets. ... The Marlins have hit into three
triple plays in their 10-year history. The last one came May 11,
2000, against Atlanta. ... Cardinals 3B Scott Rolen was 0-for-4
against Burnett and fell to 0-for-16 lifetime against him. ... 2B
Fernando Vina also was 0-for-3 and is now 0-for-11 against Burnett
... St. Louis RHP Kevin Joseph, recalled from Triple-A Memphis
earlier in the day, allowed a run in the eighth in his major league
debut.