Series: Game 1 of 3

St. Louis leads 1-0 (as of 3/31)

Game 1: Monday, March 31
St. Louis11
Game 2: Wednesday, April 2
St. Louis7
Game 3: Thursday, April 3
St. Louis6

Brewers 9

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Cardinals 11

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    4:10 PM ET, March 31, 2003

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    MIL 031000212 9 - -
    STL 00021206 - 11 - -

    W: R. Springer (1-0)

    L: M. DeJean (0-1)

    S: S. Kline (1)

    Cardinals rally twice to edge Brewers in opener

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Scott Rolen's first opening day in St. Louis was forgettable, until the eighth inning.

    Scott Rolen

    Rolen made up for a costly error with a three-run homer that capped a six-run rally, and the Cardinals held on to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 11-9 Monday.

    "Things weren't going too smoothly for a while,'' Rolen said. "You just have to keep your head up.''

    In Milwaukee's first game under new manager Ned Yost, the NL Central champion Cardinals trailed 4-0 and 7-5 before rallying against a team that finished a franchise-worst 56-106 last year.

    Kerry Robinson, who secured the final spot on the Cardinals' roster earlier in the day, drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out drag bunt off loser Mike DeJean. Rolen, obtained from Philadelphia last July, homered two batters later for an 11-7 lead.

    Rolen was 0-for-3 with a walk before his big hit, on the first pitch from DeJean.

    "That's a situation as a little kid you always want to be in -- opening day, the seventh game of the World Series, anytime you get that opportunity,'' Rolen said. "You can't waste opportunities like that. I had a pretty good feeling when that ball left my bat.''

    Milwaukee had intentionally walked cleanup hitter Albert Pujols to pitch to Rolen.

    "They had an open base, and Albert has proven himself the last two years,'' Rolen said. "I don't think I'd want to pitch to him, either.''

    Richie Sexson made it close with a two-run homer in the ninth against Cal Eldred. With Jason Isringhausen on the disabled list, Steve Kline got two outs for the save.

    "It was exciting, it was fun,'' Yost said. "It was a great game, and our guys battled all the way until the end.''

    Milwaukee led 7-5 in the eighth before pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro's RBI triple on Luis Vizcaino's first pitch. Fernando Vina then tied it with a run-scoring double off the base of the wall in right-center on the first pitch from DeJean, who converted his final 15 save chances last season.

    "I just didn't make quality pitches,'' DeJean said.

    Manager Tony La Russa said his decision to keep Robinson on the team instead of Japanese outfielder So Taguchi was justified by the results. Robinson, who replaced Jim Edmonds in the fifth, also made a nice running catch at the warning track on a drive by Jeffrey Hammonds with two on and two outs in the seventh.

    "What he did today, that's why he got the nod,'' La Russa said. "That play he made in center field might have saved the game for us.''

    Rolen, a four-time Gold Glove at third base, had allowed Milwaukee to go ahead in the seventh. With the Cardinals leading 5-4, Alex Sanchez hit a tying sacrifice fly and Rolen dropped John Vander Wal's grounder, allowing Scott Podsednik to score from third.

    Eddie Perez homered in the eighth off winner Russ Springer, Perez' 25th career homer but first since Sept. 26, 1999, at Montreal.

    Morris, 17-9 last season, allowed six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in seven innings.

    "Nerves,'' Morris said. "It was the first time out, back in the action.''

    Milwaukee's Ben Sheets gave up three runs -- two earned -- and five hits in five innings. It was the second opening-day start for Sheets, 11-16 last season.

    "I had trouble throwing where I wanted to, but I battled,'' Sheets said. "I'm not real disappointed.''

    Royce Clayton was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and double for the Brewers.

    St. Louis trailed 4-0 after three innings. Tino Martinez hit a two-run homer in the fourth and St. Louis scored twice in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead, with Edgar Renteria hitting a go-ahead double.

    Game notes

    Cardinals CF Jim Edmonds was taken out for a pinch runner after singling in the fifth. Edmonds played in the field for the first time since injuring his left calf on March 7. ... St. Louis RF Eli Marrero hurt his hip in a collision with 2B Fernando Vina on a short pop fly in the sixth and was down for several minutes, but stayed in the game. ... Martinez didn't hit his first home run last season, his first in St. Louis, until he hit two on May 1 against the Marlins. ... The Brewers opened on the road for the eighth straight year.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press