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Womack, Sanders hit back-to-back homers

4/17/2004

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals avoided their worst
start at home in 31 years, and there was absolutely no suspense to
the outcome.

Tony Womack and Reggie Sanders hit back-to-back home runs in the
first inning and Sanders added another for his second two-homer
game of the season, helping the Cardinals halt an early slump at
home with a 13-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.

Womack added a double and single, and Marlon Anderson also
homered and had three hits for St. Louis, which opened the season
1-6 at Busch Stadium for the first time since 1973. The Cardinals
had a day off Thursday after getting swept in three games and
outscored 26-9 by the Astros. Then, just like the '73 Cardinals
behind Rick Wise's shutout of the Dodgers, St. Louis won its eighth
home game.

"It's been a very tough homestand, of course," Sanders said.
"We need to try to turn it around and get back to form.

"It was a good thing for everybody to get everybody going."

Matt Morris (2-1) worked around homers to Todd Helton, Vinny
Castilla and Kit Pellow, allowing four runs and five hits in seven
innings. He struck out four and walked three and added an RBI
single in the sixth, his third of the year.

"It's always nice to win and start off a series with a win,"
Morris said. "Whatever happened before, even if we swept Houston,
it's nice to come out and win after a day off."

The Cardinals battered Denny Stark for four homers and 11 runs --
eight earned -- in 2 1-3 innings. In his two starts, Stark (0-2) has
allowed six homers and 15 earned runs for a 16.20 ERA.

"I'm just trying to look at myself and what I need to improve
so I can go out and have some success," Stark said. "I can see on
the tape that the ball is up in the zone and a team like this,
they're going to kill you."

Stark lost consecutive starts for only the second time of his
career as the Rockies fell to 2-5 on the road. They also committed
their first two errors of the season after entering the game as the
only perfect-fielding team in the majors, on Stark's throwing error
and left fielder Matt Holliday's dropped fly ball near the wall in
the second.

The drop led to three unearned runs in that inning, putting the
Cardinals ahead 7-1.

"It's a play that's made up here in the big leagues a lot, but
it's also a play that's not made," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle
said. "If he makes that catch, it's called a good catch. I don't
think that swung the game by any means."

Womack and Sanders opened the bottom of a four-run first with
consecutive homers, and Sanders hit a three-run shot, his fourth,
in the third. Sanders also hit two homers April 9 at Arizona, and
this was the 24th multihomer game of his career.

Sanders finished 3-for-5 with a single in the sixth, and did it
batting second for the first time this season, in order to inject
some pop at the top of the lineup.

Womack doubled and scored in the second, walked, stole a base
and scored in the third, singled in the fifth and hit a sacrifice
fly in the sixth off Turk Wendell.

Anderson was 3-for-4, homering to start the third and adding a
pair of singles.

Game notes
The Busch Stadium sprinklers went off during Jeromy
Burnitz's at-bat in the second. The game was delayed less than a
minute when four sprinklers in the shallow outfield started
spraying water. Burnitz ended up grounding out. ... Castilla's
homer, a two-run shot in the third, was the 4,000th at 39-year-old
Busch Stadium. ... Womack has seven leadoff homers, the last coming
on Sept. 1, 2002. He's the first Cardinal to hit a leadoff homer
since Bo Hart Aug. 11 vs. the Pirates. ... Helton was 11-for-22
with three homers and six RBI against the Cardinals last season.