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'Sleeping giant' Rolen wakes up in big way

ST. LOUIS (AP) --Scott Rolen enjoyed his first curtain call at
Busch Stadium.

Rolen hit his first home run with St. Louis and a two-run
triple, leading Chuck Finley and the Cardinals over the New York
Mets 9-0 Sunday night.

"The fans waited six games to have a chance to cheer about
something, and it was great that I finally did something,'' Rolen
said.

Rolen, who entered in a 2-for-32 slump, homered in his 42nd
at-bat since arriving in a trade with Philadelphia on July 29. He
finished with three hits, two walks and three RBIs.

Rolen knew he needed a double for the cycle when he came to the
plate in the seventh, but the Mets walked him intentionally.

"I was pretty nervous thinking about it,'' he said.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was glad to see his offense get
rolling.

"What a show, that's the offense that we're capable of,'' La
Russa said. "We beat one of the best pitchers in the league and we
had the kind of day where everybody was creating opportunities. It
was important that Scott had a huge day for us.''

La Russa was glad Rolen had a big game in front of the home
crowd.

"I think it helps for the fans to see in person what he's
capable of doing,'' La Russa said. "It's an everyday business, and
he'll have to do it again tomorrow night.''

Mets manager Bobby Valentine was impressed by Rolen.

"He was a sleeping giant, he had been quiet and hadn't really
done anything since he got there. He broke out in a big way
tonight,'' Valentine said.

Finley (3-2) held the Mets to five hits in seven innings.

"Finley was tough. He really used his forkball, and that was
the equalizer tonight,'' Mets first baseman Mo Vaughn said.

The Cardinals won for just the fourth time in 11 games to
maintain a two-game lead over Cincinnati in the NL Central.

The Mets fell one game below .500, losing two of three at St.
Louis.

Finley, who had lost his last two starts, struck out seven and
walked two. Relievers Steve Kline and Kevin Joseph finished the
seven-hitter.

Mets starter Pedro Astacio (11-5), who had won six of his last
seven decisions, allowed six runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
He walked four and struck out six.

Rolen started a two-run rally in the second with a single. After
a fielder's choice, Edgar Renteria and Mike Matheny singled to load
the bases.

Finley then bunted to Vaughn, who bobbled the ball for an error
that allowed a run to score. Fernando Vina put the Cardinals up 2-0
with a sacrifice fly.

Rolen hit his 18th homer of the year with one out in the third
to make it 3-0.

After leading off the fifth with a walk, Rolen scored on a
sacrifice fly by Renteria for a 4-0 lead.

Rolen drove in two more runs with a triple off reliever Scott
Strickland in the sixth and scored on another sacrifice fly to make
it 7-0. Albert Pujols' two-run double in the seventh finished the
scoring.

Game notes
Vaughn, who went 0-for-4, is 30-for-67 (.448) with eight
home runs in 18 Sunday night games. ... Astacio is 7-11 lifetime
against the Cardinals and 3-6 at Busch Stadium. ... The Cardinals
unveiled a statue of Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith outside
Busch Stadium before the game. ... Matheny, batting .227, was walked intentionally three times.