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St. Louis 12; Arizona 2

Oct. 2, 2002 at 7:55 AM   |   Comments

PHOENIX, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen each slammed two-run homers off Randy Johnson, one of baseball's best pitchers, and the St. Louis Cardinals scored six times in the seventh inning Tuesday night on the way to a 12-2 rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of their National League Division Series.

St. Louis jumped on Johnson, likely in line for another Cy Young Award, for six runs and 10 hits in six innings. Edmonds hit a two-run homer off the 6-10 lefthander in the opening inning, and Rolen added a long two-run shot in the fourth.

Johnson (0-1) fell to 0-7 in his last seven Division Series starts and, despite winning his five prior postseason appearances, sports just a career postseason record of 7-8.

"I didn't pitch as well as I should have, could have," Johnson said. "Just didn't make the quality pitches that you see over the course of a regular season. You need to make them in a five-game series because the game is so much more magnified."

Both Johnson and Arizona Manager Brenly offered their takes on the superstar's struggles in the Division Series.

"I would guess it probably has to do with the opponent that he faces more so than just the Division Series itself," Brenly said. "It's a good ballclub over there. They had a real good game plan against him. All their hitters were concentrating on staying up the middle of the

field, which is a great approach against Randy Johnson."

"I guess the numbers don't lie," Johnson said. "I guess I have some pretty bad luck (in the Division Series). There's no rhyme or reason. I couldn't tell you."

Johnson was in trouble throughout the contest and was no match for St. Louis ace Matt Morris (1-0). The Cardinals righthander was a bit shaky early, but allowed just two runs, one earned, and

six hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out three.

"I think there was a point where it clicked," Morris said. "But having the runs, of course, made it a little easier. I think from the fourth or fifth on, I was able to locate some fastballs and kind of settle down. I felt like I was getting a little stronger. But, you know, again, the offense gave me a nice cushion.

"He had the best stuff I've seen him have all year in the bullpen (before the game)," said his batterymate, Catcher Mike Matheny. "He came in and he was fired up. He was excited how the ball was coming out of his hand."

"I'm not depressed," said Diamondbacks first baseman Mark Grace. "There's hopefully three games left if we play well. We didn't expect to sweep these guys. If we are going to beat them guys, we fully expect it to be a five-game series."

Fernando Vina opened the game by reaching on an error and, one out later, Edmonds drilled a long shot over the wall in right-center. Edmonds, who hit two homers against Arizona in last year's Division Series, has six career postseason homers overall.

Albert Pujols, who hit a two-run homer off Johnson in last year's Division Series, opened the fourth with a long triple and Rolen crushed Johnson's next offering over the wall in left-center for a 4-2 lead.

Any chance the Diamondbacks, already trailing, 6-2, had of getting back into the game was all but eliminated by the Cardinals' big seventh inning. They sent 11 batters to the plate, had just four hits, but scored six times. Morris and Pujols had two-run singles in the inning.

The Diamondbacks bullpen continued to be a problem as Matt Mantei and Greg Swindell combined to retire just one batter and surrendered all six runs in the seventh.

After an off day Wednesday, the series resumes Thursday with Arizona sending Curt Schilling to the mound against veteran lefthander Chuck Finley.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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