HOUSTON (AP) -- Jeff Kent hit a two-run homer off Matt Morris
with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night,
giving the Houston Astros a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis
Kent's second homer of the season ruined a splendid pitching
performance by Morris (0-1), who retired 17 of 18 batters before
Lance Berkman's two-out infield single in the ninth.
Kent then sent a 3-1 pitch over the left-center field fence to
give Houston a thrilling win in the opener of a three-game series
between teams that have combined for the last seven NL Central
Octavio Dotel (1-1) worked a scoreless ninth for the victory.
Jeff Bagwell's solo homer in the third inning was one of six
hits allowed by Morris. He struck out five and walked one.
Jim Edmonds hit his third homer of the season -- all against
Houston -- in the first inning off Brian Moehler. Scott Rolen added
an RBI double for the Cardinals, who have lost three straight and
five of six.
Kent, the 2000 NL MVP, signed an $18.2 million, two-year
contract with the Astros in the offseason. He is batting .306 with
Morris shut out the Astros for eight innings in his last start
but did not get a decision.
Edmonds went 1-for-3 and is hitting .405 with 18 homers and 42
RBIs in 49 career games against the Astros. He went 4-for-4 with
two home runs, two doubles and four RBIs against the Astros in St.
Louis on April 4.
After Edmonds' homer, Albert Pujols singled to right and scored
on a double by Rolen for a 2-0 lead.
Moehler gave up six hits in five innings. Pete Munro, Brad Lidge
and Dotel combined to allow just one hit in four scoreless innings
the rest of the way.
Rolen has hit safely in all nine Cardinals games. Richard
Hidalgo also has an eight-game streak for the Astros. ... Cardinals
2B Fernando Vina was a last-minute scratch from the starting
lineup. He has inflammation on his right hand and was listed as day
to day. ... Edmonds played despite being slowed by a strained left