ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Lately, it's been one big play after another
for Jim Edmonds.
Edmonds homered and saved one with his glove, and Edgar Renteria
hit a go-ahead, two-run drive in the seventh inning that led the
St. Louis Cardinals over the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 Tuesday night.Edmonds made his first start in center field Saturday after an
eight-day break to rest a groin injury."Sometimes a couple of days off is good for some people,"
Edmonds said. "I'm not going to say I'm doing much better, but as
long as I'm going out there and getting some opportunities, I can't
complain."Matt Morris (9-6) overcame a shaky second to work seven solid
innings for St. Louis (51-32), which won its fifth straight to
improve the NL's best record."If this was the end of September it would have a lot of
meaning," manager Tony La Russa said. "Here it is, early July.
It's a footnote."The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 30-8 in the first
five games of a nine-game homestand. They have won 12 of their last
14 at home, including seven straight.Ken Griffey Jr. was 3-for-4 with a three singles. He's 8-for-41
with one RBI in 11 games since hitting his 500th homer on June 20
in St. Louis off Morris.Reggie Sanders, 5-for-8 as a pinch-hitter, doubled off Gabe
White (0-1) to start the seventh and scored on Renteria's fifth
homer. Renteria had been 0-for-8 against White."Gabe had done a hell of a job for us," manager Dave Miley
said. "So, I guess he was due."Steve Kline allowed one hit in two innings for his second save,
filling in for closer Jason Isringhausen, who had pitched three
straight games.Edmonds received two standing ovations for robbing Adam Dunn of
a homer to straightaway center in the second, the first one live
and the second after fans watched a replay on the scoreboard.Edmonds used the soft covering on the center-field wall as a
launching pad, reaching up to steal a potential two-run shot."I knew I hit it off the end," Dunn said. "I didn't know it
carried that far and when it's that close to the wall, there's no
doubt he's making a catch."Edmonds made a diving catch to take a hit away from Wily Mo Pena
on Monday, threw out a runner at the plate on Sunday and homered
with three RBI on Saturday."We miss him when he's not playing," La Russa said. "When
he's back we're a better team, there's no doubt about it."Edmonds latest great grab helped Morris escape a rocky second
inning.The Reds bunched four hits and scored three runs against the
right-hander, including a sacrifice fly near the warning track in
left from pitcher Jose Acevedo, who had been 2-for-28 with 16
strikeouts."That was a terrible inning altogether," Morris said. "You
get a boost like (Edmonds' catch) you should be able to make
pitches and get out of it."In Morris' last five innings, the Reds totaled three hits and
grounded into two double plays."Like all of the good pitchers, you've got to get him early and
often," Dunn said. "We got him early, we just didn't get him
often."The Cardinals also scored two runs in the fourth on an RBI
double by Roger Cedeno and a sacrifice fly by Marlon Anderson.
Edmonds added his 17th homer off White in the eighth.Acevedo worked six innings, allowing two runs on four hits.
The Cardinals have 52 quality starts, most in the majors.
Morris has worked six or more innings in all except one of his 18
starts. ... Morris is 5-1 in his last seven starts. ... Ryan Freel
is 8-for-14 in his last three games and is 16-for-35 during an
eight-game hitting streak.