ST. LOUIS (AP) -- For most teams, a winning record after the season opener is no big deal. The Milwaukee Brewers are different.
Their 8-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, with President Bush watching from a box above home plate, is the first time the downtrodden franchise has been above .500 in two years. The Brewers haven't finished with a winning record since 1992.
Ben Grieve hit a two-run homer and Scott Podsednik had four RBI, including a tiebreaking, three-run shot off Matt Morris in the sixth inning for the Brewers, who began last season with six straight losses and never recovered in a 68-94 season.
This year, the second under manager Ned Yost, they're aiming for .500 despite a $28 million payroll that's the lowest in the major leagues.
Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch, an inside strike, to Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny. Then Bush watched the first five innings from a private box as both starters struggled and the Cardinals' poor defense helped the Brewers.
Morris had a two-run double in the fourth for St. Louis. But he gave up seven runs, five earned, in six innings, and three of the five batters he walked ended up scoring.
Albert Pujols had a two-run double in the sixth to cut the gap to 7-6. But in his first game as the full-time starter at first base, he committed a throwing error to help the Brewers score two runs without a hit in the third. Gold Glove shortstop Edgar Renteria also bobbled a relay in the third.
Grieve, who slumped to four homers and 17 RBI last year in an injury-plagued season with the Devil Rays, put the Brewers ahead 4-1 in the third. Reggie Sanders added an RBI double in the fourth as the Cardinals tied it against Ben Sheets.
Podsednik's three-run homer in the sixth put the Brewers ahead for good at 7-4. Grieve added an RBI infield hit in the seventh on a roller that stopped halfway down the third-base line for a two-run cushion.
Dave Burba earned the win with 1 2/3 hitless innings, and Dan Kolb worked the ninth for the save.
Sheets, like Morris making his third straight Opening Day start, threw 80 pitches in only 3 1/3 innings. He gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits.
The security measures that went along with Bush's appearance inconvenienced a sellout crowd of 49,149, thousands of whom spent more than an hour in long lines outside Busch Stadium before passing through metal detectors. But most appeared to be in their seats by the time the president, wearing a Cardinals warmup jacket, threw out the first pitch to a loud mixture of cheers and boos.
Commissioner Bud Selig also attended the game. ... Morris is the first St. Louis pitcher to start three consecutive openers since Joe Magrane 1988-90. ... The Brewers were 3-13 against the Cardinals last year. They were 18-12 in spring training, their best showing since 1995. ... Podsednik, who was 2-for-5, ended the spring in an 0-for-20 slump. ... President Bush, the former owner of the Texas Rangers, also threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the first game at Milwaukee's Miller Park in 2001 and before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.