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Morris strikes out 11 in two-hitter

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Morris had never been this dominant.

Morris pitched a two-hitter and struck out a season-high 11 to
lead the St. Louis Cardinals to their seventh straight victory, 3-0
over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night in a matchup of
division leaders.

"I know it's the best game I've caught with him," catcher Mike
Matheny said. "It's amazing, the way he pitched."

Reggie Sanders homered, doubled and had two RBI. Matheny also
homered for the Cardinals, who have won 11 of 13 overall and are a
major league best 90-44.

Morris (15-8) won his third straight start and walked none,
pitching the low-hit complete game of his career. The only hits he
allowed were singles by Jose Lima in the third and Robin Ventura in
the fifth.

"Everything he threw was tough," Ventura said. "In baseball
you can run into somebody like this. You just admit he was good and
keep going."

Morris, who retired the last 14 batters, pitched his second
shutout this season and the eighth of his career. He has 16
complete games, including three this season. Previously, his
low-hit complete game was a three-hitter against Cincinnati on
Sept. 7 last year.

It was the first time he struck out 10 or more since April 5
last year against Houston.

This, after struggling during his pregame warmups.

"I felt OK physically, but I was just pulling off everything
and the ball was up," Morris said. "Once the batter stepped in, I
focused on going straight to the plate and I tried to finish
strong."

Morris's 4.40 ERA is the highest on the staff, and he endured a
recent stretch of six starts that were alternately good and bad. So
he wasn't getting too excited about this game.

"Anytime during the season, this is a very encouraging start,"
Morris said. "We're going to take it one game at a time because
I've been pretty inconsistent. I'm going to try to go out there
with the same stuff, the same mental approach, and see what
happens."

The game lasted 1 hours, 58 minutes, the shortest in more than
two seasons for the Cardinals.

"I just tried to make pitches, let the defense work and get out
of here," Morris said.

Lima (11-5) gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings,
dropping to 1-5 in his career against the Cardinals with a 6.75
ERA. Lima, who has lost consecutive starts after winning five
straight decisions, has allowed 29 homers, all but six with the
bases empty.

"I give credit to myself for a good game, but he was a lot
better," Morris said.

Jim Edmonds doubled with one out in the second and Sanders
doubled him home with two outs to put the Cardinals ahead. Sanders
hit his 21st homer in the fifth and Matheny hit his fourth in the
seventh.

Sanders reached base on seven consecutive at-bats before flying
out to start the seventh. He's 7-for-9 his last three games with
four doubles, a triple and a homer.

Game notes
Dodgers OF Milton Bradley attended the funeral of his
grandfather in Los Angeles and is expected to rejoin the team
Saturday. Manager Jim Tracy has said he won't start. ... The
Dodgers have not made an error in six games. ... The Cardinals have
won eight in a row at home, where they're 46-23, and they're 36-11
since the All-Star break. ... The Cardinals have 23 extra-base hits
the last four games, 12 of them homers. ... The Dodgers were held
to two hits for the second time, also getting only two against the
Padres and Adam Eaton on July 25. ... Albert Pujols had a pair of
singles and is 13-for-24 during a six-game hitting streak with four
homers and eight RBI.