Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 9/21)

Game 1: Friday, September 20
Houston 3Final
St. Louis 9
Game 2: Saturday, September 21
Houston 6Final
St. Louis 3
Game 3: Sunday, September 22
Houston 3Final
St. Louis 7

Astros 6

(82-73, 37-40 away)

Cardinals 3

(90-64, 45-28 home)

    4:10 PM ET, September 21, 2002

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 200022000 6 - -
    STL 002000001 3 - -

    W: W. Miller (15-3)

    L: M. Morris (16-9)

    Morris continues to struggle since DL stint

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Now that the St. Louis Cardinals have clinched the NL Central, they've got to figure out how to get Matt Morris ready for the playoffs.

    Matt Morris

    Morris, struggling since he came off the disabled list, allowed all six runs and nine hits Saturday in a 6-3 loss to the Houston Astros.

    "I'm just not concentrating. I'm not real sharp right now,'' Morris said. "It's all in there, but I'm just not making pitches.''

    He's 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA since he was activated on Sept. 10, allowing 10 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. In his previous start, Houston chased him after 3 2/3 innings last weekend. Morris (16-9) allowed five runs and nine hits in that one.

    Morris likely will start the first and, if needed, fourth game of the playoffs, most likely against Arizona. His last tuneup is scheduled for Thursday against Milwaukee.

    "He'll be all right,'' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "I think Matt pitched better than those numbers.''

    Wade Miller (15-3) tied a team record by winning his 12th straight decision and Lance Berkman hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs for the Astros.

    Houston (82-73) remains alive in the wild-card race with seven games left but has only a slight hope to catch San Francisco, 88-66 going into Saturday.

    "To see them celebrate like that makes you want to get back there,'' Miller said. "I'm just trying to work on my game right now and try to come back next year strong so we can get back there.''

    St. Louis, which clinched the division title Friday night, rested Jim Edmonds, Fernando Vina, Edgar Renteria and Tino Martinez. The Cardinals, who finished second last year but won the wild card, have lost only three times in their last 17 games.

    La Russa rejected the notion that the Cardinals were flat after celebrating well into the night on Friday.

    "We were fired up last Sunday and he shut us out,'' La Russa said of Miller. "He's got a winning streak going for a good reason.''

    Miller, unbeaten in 15 starts since a June 26 loss to Arizona, tied the team record set by Mark Portugal in 1993. He also matched Anaheim's Jarrod Washburn (April 19 to July 21) for the longest winning streak by a major league pitcher this year.

    "I think it's neat,'' Miller said. "I think it's great to go out there and get that. Hopefully I can finish the season with that.''

    Miller pitched a three-hit shutout in his previous outing, last Sunday at Houston against the Cardinals, and is 3-0 with an 1.16 ERA in September. During his winning streak, he has a 1.93 ERA.

    "Wade has been great since he's coming off the DL,'' catcher Brad Ausmus said. "It kind of makes you wonder what our record would be if Wade hadn't missed six weeks of the season because he's pitched so well.''

    Miller struck out five and walked one in eight innings, and also hit a two-run double that made it 6-2 in the sixth -- doubling his RBI total for the season.

    Berkman, who leads the NL with 128 RBI, had a run-scoring double in the first and a two-run homer in the fifth, his 42nd homer this season. He left in the bottom of the sixth with a tight right hamstring and is day to day.

    Scott Rolen, who had homered in four consecutive games for the Cardinals, was 0-2 before leaving for a pinch hitter in the seventh. Rolen has hit .283 with 12 homers and 39 RBI in 50 games with St. Louis.

    Ausmus tied an NL record when he grounded into his 30th double play of the season. Ausmus matched the mark set by Ernie Lombardi, also a catcher, in for the 1938 Cincinnati Reds.

    "I've been the butt of a few jokes,'' Ausmus said. "If you go out there and win and I hit into a double play, at the very least it will entertain my teammates.''

    Miguel Cairo had a two-run single in the third for the Cardinals. Kerry Robinson scored from first after an ill-advised throw to second by left fielder Daryle Ward.

    "I just kept running and you run until they stop you,'' Robinson said. "It won't be on the news.''

    Eli Marrero homered for the third straight game in the ninth off Tom Gordon.

    Game notes

    Ausmus got his 1,000th career hit when he singled in the second, and he singled and scored in the sixth. ... The Cardinals went without a home run after hitting consecutive homers in three straight games. ... St. Louis has scored 18 runs in Morris' nine losses. ... The Astros are 6-12 against the Cardinals.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press