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Brewers hand Cards fourth straight loss

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Morris wasn't happy with his final tuneup
for the playoffs.

Morris struggled and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis
Cardinals 7-6 Thursday night to send the NL Central champions to
their first four-game losing streak of the season. He's the likely
Game 1 starter next week despite an off-and-on season.

"Obviously this is not a good way, whether I'm starting the
first game or not, to go into a postseason," Morris said.
"Hopefully, with my track record being good-bad, good-bad, I've
got a good one coming."

Keith Ginter hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and
Scott Podsednik hit a two-run shot in the fourth.

St. Louis (103-56), the winningest team in the major leagues
this season, can do no better than tie the franchise record for
victories, set in 1942. The Cardinals are 6-6 since clinching first
place on Sept. 18.

Before Thursday, they had lost three in a row three times. They
had been trying to become the first team in franchise history to
avoid a losing streak of more than three games.

"It's not a good time to be doing it," Morris said. "We're
not playing on all cylinders right now, but we're hoping to turn it
around in the next couple of days."

Morris (15-10) allowed six runs and seven hits in four innings.
Starting on nine days' rest after skipping a start due to fatigue,
he came out after 72 pitches and dropped to 9-4 with a 3.69 ERA at
home. Morris is 6-6 with a 6.02 ERA on the road.

The playoff opener will be at Busch Stadium next week.

St. Louis didn't start Larry Walker (stiff neck) and Jim Edmonds
(0-for-21 slump) in the opener of a four-game series that closes
the regular season.

Doug Davis (12-12) needed 123 pitches to get through six
innings. Davis, who gave up two runs and seven hits, was 2-2 with a
2.18 ERA in September.

Davis had asked to be pushed back a day in order to face the
Cardinals instead of Arizona.

"You can't beat that lineup any way they put it together, and
that's why I wanted to pitch this game," Davis said. "I chose to
pitch in a playoff atmosphere. I wanted to pitch against a great
team with a lot of talent."

Dan Kolb pitched the ninth for his 39th save in 44 chances -- one
run scored off him on a throwing error by Ginter at second, and
Mike Matheny hit a two-run double.

"I want to say we had them all the way, but I don't want to
lie," manager Ned Yost said. "That was a perfect double-play ball
to Ginter, but he got caught up in between."

Ginter, 14-for-28 during a seven-game hitting streak, caught a
break in the first when Matheny gloved but could not hold his foul
pop in the stands. Ginter homered on the next pitch for a 4-0 lead.

Geoff Jenkins had an RBI double earlier in the first, and
Podsednik's 12th homer put the Brewers ahead 6-0. Podsednik singled
in a run in the eighth.

St. Louis loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth but got
only one run on Matheny's fielder's-choice grounder. Hector Luna
and Edmonds, who pinch hit, both struck out.

Albert Pujols doubled twice for St. Louis, and drove in a run in
the fifth to make it 6-2, and Roger Cedeno had an RBI single off
Mike Adams in the seventh.

Game notes
Matheny has a career-high 49 RBI. ... Morris fell to 10-4
against the Brewers. ... Davis was 0-for-2 with a sacrifice and is
1-for-64 (.016) at the plate this year. ... Craig Counsell was
3-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base for the Brewers. ... Tony
Womack, who missed two games after getting hit by a pitch on his
left hand on Monday, grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.