Series: Game 2 of 3

St. Louis leads 2-0 (as of 6/19)

Game 1: Tuesday, June 18
Anaheim 2Final
St. Louis 7
Game 2: Wednesday, June 19
Anaheim 2Final
St. Louis 6
Game 3: Thursday, June 20
Anaheim 3Final
St. Louis 2

Angels 2

(39-29, 17-14 away)

Cardinals 6

(40-29, 23-10 home)

    7:05 PM ET, June 19, 2002

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    ANA 100001000 2 - -
    STL 10023000 - 6 - -

    W: M. Morris (10-4)

    L: A. Sele (6-4)

    Cards win fifth straight after honoring Buck

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Placido Polanco, almost strictly a singles hitter, hit two home runs for Jack Buck.

    Matt Morris

    Pacido Polanco

    That was Polanco's way of paying tribute to the team's longtime broadcaster, helping the St. Louis Cardinals win their fifth straight game, 6-2 over the Anaheim Angels on Wednesday night.

    ''We were very sad, but as the same time we were very motivated,'' Polanco said. ''What a great friend Jack was. We wanted to do it for him.''

    The Cardinals extended their NL Central lead to two games over the Reds a day after the death of Buck, who was honored in a pregame ceremony and whose closed casket will be at home plate for a visitation on Thursday.

    The team carved the initials ''JFB'' in the grass just beyond the center-field wall and again behind second base. And the bronze bust of Buck at the microphone outside Busch Stadium became a shrine crammed with homemade cards, baseball hats, toy animals, balloons, old framed photographs of the longtime announcer and even a transistor radio tuned to KMOX -- the Cardinals' flagship station.

    ''Very few teams are as close their broadcaster as this club is to Jack,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ''Everybody knows him, everybody really loves him, he talks to everybody.''

    Polanco, who has 47 singles among his 58 hits, tied his career best with four RBI with his first multihomer game in the majors.

    Polanco entered the game with 11 career homers in 1,434 at-bats, and only one in 213 at-bats this year. Polanco homered off Aaron Sele (6-4) with one out in the first to tie it at 1, hit a three-run homer in the fifth for a 6-1 lead and had an infield hit in the seventh.

    Albert Pujols also homered for the Cardinals, hitting a two-run shot in the fourth.

    Scott Spiezio homered, doubled and singled for the Angels, who have lost four in a row for the first time since April 20-23. Anaheim has been outscored 28-13 during the slump.

    ''You can point your finger at our starting pitching,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''We're not getting the consistent starts we had for six weeks. Every team is going to go through this.''

    Matt Morris (10-4) allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings in his 100th career start. He's 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in his last three starts after going 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA in the previous four outings.

    ''Today was a little different,'' Morris said. ''It wasn't the same warmup routine, but there are more important things sometimes.

    ''I'm just glad we were able to bring home a winner for him.''

    Sele lost for the first time in four starts, giving up six runs on eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. Sele fell to 11-6 in 21 career interleague starts.

    ''I don't think you have to work real hard to describe this game,'' Sele said. ''The first two home runs were right down the middle of the plate. They were mislocated fastballs that were easy to drive out of the park.''

    The Angels took the lead in the first on a double by David Eckstein and Garret Anderson's two-out single, and Polanco's homer tied it. Pujols' 15th homer in the fourth put the Cardinals ahead 3-1.

    Spiezio's fourth homer cut the gap to 6-2 in the sixth.

    Game notes

    Cardinals personnel will wear black patches with Buck's initials, JFB, on their sleeves the rest of the season. ... Polanco has three four-RBI games, the last coming on Sept. 23, 2000 at Chicago. He also extended his hitting streak to 12 games, longest on the team this season. ... The Angels fell to 24-14 when scoring first and 14-7 when they score in the first inning. ... David Eckstein hasn't struck out in his last 65 plate appearances, the longest current streak in the majors.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press