Cards' Morris improves to 7-0

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Morris gets excited for every start, it's
just his nature. Facing the Boston Red Sox got him really pumped
up, even if it wasn't the World Series.

Morris improved to 7-0 with his first complete game of the
season and contributed a squeeze bunt to help St. Louis beat Boston
7-1 Monday night in the teams' first meeting since last fall, when
the Red Sox swept the Cardinals for their first World Series
championship since 1918.

"We wanted this one bad," Morris said. "It's just another
game but it was a little more meaningful with all the media around
and the attention. So, it was fun today."

David Eckstein had three RBI, eighth-place hitter Yadier Molina
had two and the Cardinals knocked out Tim Wakefield (4-6) in the
sixth inning.

The largest crowd in eight seasons, a sellout of 50,270, watched
the Cardinals win for the 16th time in their last 18 interleague
games dating to 2003. Edgar Renteria got a generally warm
reception, a mixture of early boos drowned out by cheers, in each
of his at-bats in his first visit to St. Louis since signing as a
free-agent with the Red Sox.

Renteria, who played for the Cardinals for six seasons, was
0-for-3 with two double-play balls and a foul-out. He also
misplayed Morris' grounder for an error in the eighth, prompting
jeers of "Edgar! Edgar!" from the fans.

"You wait to beat the Boston Red Sox with Edgar having a tough
day you're not going to beat them too much," Cardinals manager
Tony La Russa said. "I thought the first at-bat when our fans gave
him a standing ovation, that really is what his six years here was
all about."

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek had three passed balls, only two
short of his season total from last year, while futilely trying to
corral Wakefield's knuckleball. Varitek, who entered the game with
one passed ball this year, drove in the Red Sox's lone run with a
second-inning single.

"I think Wake's ball was moving all over the place," Red Sox
manager Terry Francona said. "I think his ball was moving, which
was good for us, but whoever is back there is going to have a tough

Pitching with a sore shoulder, Morris lasted just 4 1/3 innings
in Game 2 of the World Series and gave up four runs. Following
offseason arthroscopic surgery, he's off to the best start of his
career. He allowed one run on four hits in the 17th complete game
of his career.

Morris struck out one and walked one while raising his career
interleague record to 11-5.

His squeeze bunt capped a three-run second against Wakefield,
who lasted just 3 2/3 innings in Game 1 of the World Series.
Morris' bunt came after consecutive run-scoring singles by Abraham
Nunez and Molina and gave the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.

St. Louis never had a lead in the World Series.

"Believe me, that occurred to me," La Russa said.

Morris benefited from a handful of outstanding plays. First
baseman Albert Pujols caught Renteria's foul pop after the ball
glanced off Cardinals vice president Dan Farrell in the first row
next to the Cardinals' dugout to end the third. Second baseman Mark
Grudzielanek fielded Jay Payton's grounder up the middle and made a
strong throw to get him by a half-step in the fifth.

"I just closed my eyes, and stuck my glove out," Pujols said.

Molina added a run-scoring groundout in the fourth and
Eckstein's RBI with two outs in the sixth made it 5-1 and chased
Wakefield, who has lost five straight starts while surrendering 26
earned runs in 28 1/3 innings.

Eckstein added a two-run triple off John Halama in the eighth.

It's Wakefield's worst slump since a seven-game skid from Sept.
18, 1995 to April 20, 1996.

"I felt like I pitched OK until that last inning and gave up a
pretty cheap run," Wakefield said. "I think my last time out I
didn't have good stuff, but the other starts I just couldn't catch
a break."

This is the fourth time since interleague play began in 1997
that the World Series teams met in the next regular season. In two
of the three previous instances, both involving the New York
Yankees, the World Series winner also won the regular-season

This is the Red Sox's third straight series against a division
leader. Previously, they took two of three from the Angels and
split a four-game series with the Orioles.

Game notes
The Cardinals have seven of the first 80 picks in the
baseball draft, which begins Tuesday. ... There were 7,999 no-shows
for the game, which had the largest paid attendance at Busch
Stadium since a manual scoreboard was added in center field in
1997. ... Cardinals starters have 33 victories, by far the most in
the NL. ... The Red Sox are 17-18 against teams with winning
records. ... Eckstein had three hits and is 15-for-38 (.395) during
a nine-game hitting streak.