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Morris remains unbeaten in four starts

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Morris was one of Darryl Kile's best
friends on the St. Louis Cardinals. On the night his former
teammate was honored, Morris kept his emotions and the Washington
Nationals in check.

Jim Edmonds homered, doubled twice and had four RBI, and Morris
remained unbeaten in nine starts this season to help the St. Louis
Cardinals beat the Nationals 6-3 Friday night for their fourth
straight victory.

"It's a hard thing for me, still," Morris said. "DK is always
in the back of my mind."

Kile's children removed their father's jersey number 57 -- which
was up because it coincided with the number of home games left at
Busch Stadium -- from the right-field wall Friday night as part of
the final-year countdown at the 40-year-old ballpark. Kile's widow,
Flynn Kile, made her first appearance at the stadium since Darryl
Kile's funeral in 2002.

The Kiles are staying in St. Louis for the three-game series
that ends Sunday.

"This was another special night," Edmonds said. "They're here
now, the family's here and it's another unbelievable time for us,
emotional and just a big lift for the team to see them."

John Mabry and Mark Grudzielanek each had an RBI single in the
Cardinals' first regular-season home game involving a team from
Washington. About half of the sellout crowd of 47,383 stayed for
the end of the game after a 27-minute rain delay before the bottom
of the seventh.

The NL Central leaders, who at 31-16 are off to the second-best
start in franchise history, were 3-0 against the former Montreal
Expos in spring training.

Morris (5-0) worked seven innings and gave up three runs -- two
earned -- on five hits with eight strikeouts and no walks to win his
third consecutive start. He gave up all three runs on three hits
and a throwing error by shortstop David Eckstein in the third but
otherwise was in command, striking out the side in the first and
working four perfect innings.

Edmonds, who had been in a 1-for-14 slump, hit a two-run homer
to straightaway center in the first off Tony Armas Jr. (1-3). He
added a two-run double in the third to match his season best for
RBI, also achieved in the opener April 5 at Houston, and was
walked intentionally in the fifth ahead of Mabry's RBI single that
made it 5-3. He doubled to start the eighth, a half-inning after
robbing Nick Johnson with a running catch at the warning track, and
scored on Grudzielanek's broken-bat single over a drawn-in infield
against Luis Ayala.

"Big difference from yesterday," Edmonds said. "And the day
before, and the day before and the day before, and the day before
that."

Johnson had a two-run double and Brad Wilkerson had an RBI
double in the third for the Nationals, who have lost four straight.
On their off-day Thursday, the team made nine roster moves after a
three-game road sweep at Cincinnati.

"Actually, everybody is still positive," Armas said. "We've
just got to put things together."

Armas faced the Cardinals for the first time since Aug. 8, 2001,
and lasted five innings. He gave up five runs on five hits and five
walks, falling to 0-6 with a 7.80 ERA on the road since April 10,
2003.

"He made some mistakes, obviously, up in the zone, and not just
to one hitter" catcher Brian Schneider said. "He didn't pitch
real good to Edmonds."

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 13th save in 13
chances.

Game notes
Eckstein has four errors in five games this week. He had a
career-worst three errors on Sunday and has nine on the season,
three more than all last season. ... The Cardinals' start is second
in franchise history only to a 33-14 record in 1941. The 1941 team
finished second. ... Yadier Molina had five straight hits over two
games before lining out to center to end the second. Molina was
0-for-4. ... In his last two starts, Armas has given up 12 runs in
12 innings. ... Cristian Guzman had been in a 1-for-33 slump before
singling to start the third. ... The Cardinals are 84-49 in Morris'
starts since 2001 and Morris is 53-26 for his career at home.