Rockies fall again to Cards
DENVER – Mark Grudzielanek had four hits and two RBIs, and Matt Morris fought through six shaky innings to remain unbeaten in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 8-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies Wednesday night.Some of the Mile High air had been taken out of Coors Field, with just 21 runs scored the previous four games at the hitter-friendly park – 5.3 per game.But the Cardinals and Rockies reversed that right away, each getting five runs by the sixth inning and combining for 29 hits. St. Louis had 17, with Grudzielanek finishing 4-for-5 and Scott Seabol 3-for-3 with two RBIs.Clint Barmes tied a team record with three doubles and had two RBIs, and Desi Relaford was 3-for-5 with two RBIs for Colorado. The Rockies had 12 hits, but couldn’t overcome another rough outing from starter Joe Kennedy and more bullpen problems to lose for the eighth time in 11 games.St. Louis broke a 6-all tie in the seventh inning after loading the bases against Blaine Neal (0-1). Pinch-hitter Larry Walker knocked in one run on a groundout and the other came in on a wild pitch by Byung-Hyun Kim.That saved Morris (6-0), who continued to have trouble at Coors Field. He allowed six runs – five earned – and 10 hits in six innings. Sure, he won for the first time in four starts in Denver, but still has a 7.50 ERA there.Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 16th save this season and 21st straight overall. His last blown save came Sept. 17 against Arizona.Morris’ problems started early.He gave up consecutive doubles to Barmes and Relaford for a run in the first inning, then walked Kennedy – a .182 hitter – with two outs in the second. Barmes followed with a bloop double that right fielder Roger Cedeno couldn’t come up with, tying the game at 2-all.Morris gave up four more runs in the fourth on J.D. Closser’s sacrifice, Barmes’ third double and run-scoring singles by Relaford and Todd Helton – just the second RBI in 16 games for Colorado’s best hitter.Morris had plenty of defensive help.Center fielder So Taguchi made a sliding catch in the first inning and shortstop David Eckstein topped him in the third with a spectacular diving catch down the line in the third. Eckstein also started an inning-ending double play in the fifth with a diving stop up the middle.Kennedy had plenty of his own problems.He gave up two runs in the first inning after Relaford turned a routine grounder into an error with a wide throw to first to open the game.Kennedy gave up two more runs in the third inning and didn’t last the fifth, leaving after Eckstein’s leadoff single and Taguchi’s walk.St. Louis tied it at 6-all on Grudzielanek’s run-scoring single off Neal and Jim Edmonds’ pinch-hit sacrifice fly.Kennedy allowed six runs – four earned – and 11 hits in five innings after allowing seven runs in five innings his previous start.Notes: The Colorado record of three doubles in a game has been accomplished 25 times. 2B Aaron Miles last did it on April 4 against San Diego. … Morris walked Matt Holliday to lead off the second inning, the first one he had allowed in 16 2-3 innings. … St. Louis’s starters have 30 wins, best in the majors.
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