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Cards back Stephenson with 10 runs

5/19/2002

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- After winning 16 games in 2000, Garrett
Stephenson waited 20 months for the next victory.

Stephenson allowed a run in five innings on Sunday and the St.
Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-1.

"It feels like a really long time," Stephenson said. "You've
got to get your first win before you get your second.

"I'll just keep going out there and busting my tail and let
these guys play defense behind me and quit walking so many people --
I hate walking people," he said.

Stephenson (1-2) overcame a rocky start in his second start
since coming off the disabled list from a lower back strain,
winning for the first time since Sept. 11, 2000. He gave up a home
run to Barry Larkin to lead off the game and walked three the first
two innings.

Stephenson got a visit from pitching coach Dave Duncan in the
first and did a lot of stretching in the dugout between the first
and second innings, and seemed to loosen up the rest of his stint.
He allowed four hits with five strikeouts and three walks.

"You could tell he was really struggling to find it," manager
Tony La Russa said. "We were just looking for a key to get him in
a groove. A lineup like that, they make you pay if you're not
sharp."

Stephenson missed all of last year after undergoing
reconstructive elbow surgery. This was Stephenson's fifth start of
the season.

Eli Marrero and Tino Martinez hit three-run homers for the
Cardinals, who have won eight of 10 and are 5-1 so far on a 10-game
homestand. The Reds have won five of seven.

"I know they have a good ballclub," Reds manager Bob Boone
said. "Houston does and I think we do, but you never know."

Marrero's second homer capped a four-run fourth against Jose
Acevedo (4-2). Jim Edmonds started the inning with a single,
Martinez was hit by a pitch and Edgar Renteria singled to load the
bases and Kerry Robinson beat out the relay to first on a double
play ball for the first run.

Martinez hiked his average to .214 with a 2-for-4 day.

"I never lost my confidence," Martinez said. "Right now with
my average, I'm just taking it day by day and I'll try to hit
better month to month instead of looking back at what I haven't
done."

Edmonds added an RBI single off the base of the right-field wall
for a 5-1 lead in the fifth.

Martinez hit his fifth homer, and second in as many days, off
Scott Sullivan in the seventh for an 8-1 lead.

Placido Polanco added a two-run homer, his first since July 27,
2001.

Acevedo lasted 4 1-3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits in
his second start for the Reds since being recalled from Triple-A
Louisville on May 7. The last two seasons, he's 0-3 against the
Cardinals with a 12.40 ERA.

"His velocity was good, but he's lost the feel of putting the
ball where he wants to," catcher Corky Miller said. "He's had
poor location with his fastball the last couple of times out."

Game notes
Stephenson entered with an 0-4 record and 5.45 ERA for his
career against the Reds. ... Larkin has two homers this year, both
leading off games. He also connected off the Dodgers' Hideo Nomo
May 1, and has eight career leadoff homers. He entered the game in
an 0-for-15 slump. ... Steve Kline replica cap day lured a crowd of
42,992. The first 20,000 fans 20 and under received caps complete
with stains and missing the top button, which Kline always chews
off his hat. ... After the game, the Reds optioned OF Ruben Mateo
to Triple-A Louisville and purchased the contract of RHP Carlos
Almanzar, who had 11 saves at Louisville but will set up behind
closer Danny Graves with Cincinnati.