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Renteria homers twice; Rolen has RBI triple

7/31/2002

MIAMI (AP) -- Scott Rolen had been this nervous only twice
before: during his major league debut in 1996 and at his first
All-Star game earlier this month.

Both turned out fine, so maybe this will, too.

Andy Benes won for the first time in almost a year, Edgar
Renteria homered twice and Rolen had an RBI triple in his St. Louis
debut as the Cardinals beat the Florida Marlins 5-0 Tuesday night.

Rolen got two hits and played perfect defense, making his first
game with St. Louis a complete success. The 27-year-old third
baseman was traded a day earlier following an unhappy stay in
Philadelphia.

''The game is the same, but tonight had a different feel,''
Rolen said. ''You want everything to work out. You want to do
everything you can to help this team. There are a bunch of
professionals here. You can tell that right away. These guys don't
just show up at the ballpark and go through the motions. They come
to win.''

Winning for the seventh time in nine games, St. Louis remained a
season-high five games ahead of Cincinnati in the NL Central. The
Cardinals had plenty of highlights, too.

Benes, still battling arthritis in his right knee, retired 10 of
his final 11 batters. He went a season-high 6 1/3 innings -- a great
sign for the Cardinals.

Benes (1-3) allowed four hits, three walks and struck out three
to win for the first time since Aug. 13 of last season. It was his
first victory as a starter since June 13, 2001.

''I've been through a lot this past year,'' said Benes, who
might need surgery after the season. ''There was a time I didn't
know I would make it back. My attitude now is I look at each time
out as an opportunity. That's all I can ask for.''

Renteria hit solo home runs off Michael Tejera (6-4) in the
fifth and seventh innings for the third multihomer game of his
career -- second against the Marlins.

Right-hander Matt Duff struck out two and pitched a perfect
ninth in his major league debut.

Rolen's debut overshadowed it all.

Greeted by a mixture of cheers and boos, Rolen grounded into a
double play in the second inning. He bounced back with a single in
the fourth, looking like he might drive in a run until Marlins
outfielder Kevin Millar threw out Fernando Vina at home.

In the eighth, Rolen legged out a triple on a ball hit over
center fielder Preston Wilson's head. Rolen also popped out in the
sixth.

''He's been a prime-time player since he's been up here,''
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

''He played a solid game tonight. The most important thing he
has to know is that he doesn't have to be anything special in that
clubhouse. On the field, we just need him to play the way he does,
and we know how strong that is.''

Rolen batted in the No. 5 spot against the Marlins, joining a
powerful lineup that already featured Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols,
J.D. Drew and Tino Martinez.

''They made a heck of a move getting Rolen,'' said Marlins
manager Jeff Torborg, whose club has lost five of seven.

A healthy Benes could make the Cardinals even stronger for the
stretch run.

He was placed on the disabled list in April and missed more than
three months. He returned earlier this month but was limited to
just four innings in his first start and then moved to the bullpen
for a relief outing.

Benes was back in the starting rotation last week but took a
hard-luck loss by giving up two runs in 4 2/3 innings.

This start showed even more promise. He struck out Millar to
thwart a bases-loaded threat in the first inning, then got double
plays to end the second and third.

He retired 10 in a row before giving up a single to Mike Redmond
in the sixth and leaving with a 3-0 lead.

''There's a lot of energy here, and that was Scott coming
over,'' Benes said. ''He's going to be a solid Gold Glove player
for a long time.''

Martinez led off the fifth inning with his 13th homer, and
Renteria followed with his sixth -- the fourth time the Cardinals
have hit back-to-back homers this season.

Rolen's triple made it 4-0, and Martinez followed with an RBI
double to cap the scoring.

Game notes
The Marlins were shut out for the eighth time this season.
... Renteria's last multihomer game was May 31, 1999, at Florida.
... The Cardinals took advantage of an off day Monday and a
left-handed starter Tuesday to give Drew (knee) two days' rest. ...
Marlins C Charles Johnson was out of the starting lineup with a
sore left thumb -- the same injury that has hindered him all season.