Series: Game 2 of 3

St. Louis leads 2-0 (as of 9/25)

Game 1: Friday, September 24
St. Louis5Final
in 10
Game 2: Saturday, September 25
St. Louis10Final
Game 3: Sunday, September 26
St. Louis9Final

Cardinals 10

(102-52, 51-26 away)

Rockies 6

(67-87, 38-42 home)

    3:05 PM ET, September 25, 2004

    Coors Field, Denver, Colorado 

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    STL 100004212 10 11 0
    COL 000410001 6 10 2

    W: R. Flores (1-0)

    L: T. Harikkala (6-5)

    S: J. Isringhausen (46)

    La Russa gets creative with lineup

    DENVER (AP) -- It doesn't seem to matter what lineup the St. Louis Cardinals throw out there.

    Playing without four regulars and using relievers from start to finish, the Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 10-6 on Saturday.

    John Mabry hit a three-run homer, Roger Cedeno added a disputed two-run shot and the Cardinals had 11 hits to go 50 games over .500 for the first time since 1944 (105-49).

    Randy Flores (0-1) threw two scoreless innings to pick up his first major league win and Jason Isringhausen got the last out for his 46th save.

    Not bad for a team that had Scott Rolen, Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds and Tony Womack on the bench.

    "The guys that play have to compete and you can't change the level of competition," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We've had such a deep situation here where the guys have done this time after time after time. When a guy comes off the bench and plays, he's been the guy that has made the difference."

    With the NL Central title already clinched, La Russa got creative with his lineup.

    Matt Morris, the scheduled starter, was given the day off to rest for the playoffs and reliever Al Reyes didn't know he was making his first big league start until arriving at the ballpark.

    Yadier Molina, listed as the starting catcher, was replaced by Mike Matheny just before the first pitch but came in for Matheny in the sixth inning and hit a two-run double in the ninth. Pitcher Woody Williams even came in as a pinch hitter in the sixth, striking out against Joe Kennedy.

    "They have a very strong club. They don't have a lot of holes," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

    Reyes did his part in his first start on any level since 1998, pitching three perfect innings before giving way to Rick Ankiel.

    Ankiel started off by doing exactly what the Cardinals didn't want to see: hit his first batter. After all, it was control problems that forced the left-hander to spend most of the past four seasons in the minors.

    Luis Gonzalez followed with a single and Todd Helton knocked in Colorado's first run with another single. Ankiel then threw a hanging curveball to Todd Greene, who hit it over the wall in left for a three-run homer that put the Rockies up 4-1.

    Ankiel also gave up an RBI single to Helton in the fifth and was pulled after giving up five runs and six hits in two innings.

    "It's just a bump in the road," said Ankiel, who pitched four scoreless innings in his first two appearances this season. "I left a couple of balls up and they got whacked. It's an occupational hazard. I went out there and didn't make a pitch when I had to make it."

    But all the lineup shuffling by La Russa worked out, thanks to a mistake by the third-base umpire Sam Holbrook in the seventh.

    With one on and no outs, Cedeno hit a ball to left off Tim Harikkala (6-5) that appeared to hit near the top of the wall and bounce onto the field. Cedeno thought it stayed in, stopping briefly at second before being waved in for his 13th homer.

    Fans sitting in the left-field bleachers screamed at the umpires and repeatedly pointed to the spot on the wall where the ball hit, and Hurdle came out to argue for several minutes to no avail.

    Holbrook said he missed the call after seeing the replay following the game.

    "I don't know how a ball could do what it did and go out of the ballpark. It's impossible," Helton said. "It's a tough break for us, but that's not what lost the game for us. We should have won the game regardless of that. We made mistakes and we just got beat."

    Kennedy had something to do with it.

    The left-hander didn't start off too well in his first game back after a five-game suspension for an Aug. 15 altercation with Pittsburgh's Jason Kendall.

    Kennedy walked three of the first four he faced, giving up a run on Edgar Renteria's sacrifice fly. He settled down for a few innings, then ran into trouble when hard rain started falling in the sixth.

    Kennedy gave up four runs in the inning, one on Matheny's groundout and three more on a homer by Mabry that landed in the third row of the second deck in right, tying the game at 5. Kennedy allowed five runs on six hits and walked five in six innings.

    "I'm sure if there is one pitch he could have back, it was that one (to Mabry)," Hurdle said. "He didn't make a good pitch and we paid for it. It got them back in the game."

    Game notes

    Walker was given the day off after going 0-for-4 on Friday night in his first game back in Denver since an Aug. 6 trade by the Rockies. ... Reyes had a single in the second, his third hit in the majors. His first one also was at Coors Field, in 1998 with Milwaukee.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press