Ricky Ledee hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Jeff Kent
went 3-for-4 with two RBI and the Dodgers beat the St. Louis
Cardinals 7-5 Friday night in their first meeting at Dodger Stadium
since last year's playoffs.
Cesar Izturis scored the go-ahead run in the seventh thanks to a
mental lapse by Morris (11-4). The Dodgers' leadoff hitter drew a
walk and went to third on a hit-and-run single by Oscar Robles.
Milton Bradley followed with a comebacker, and Morris shot a glance
at Izturis to freeze him before throwing to first.
But Izturis already was halfway down the line, and scored easily
ahead of first baseman Albert Pujols' late throw.
"What do you want me to say? Go ask Morris about it. He made
the decision to throw to first base and the run scored," Pujols
Morris was a little more analytical about it.
"With the game-winning run on third, I should have paid more
attention to him," Morris said. "I got the ball, I looked at him
and he looked like he took a secondary lead off third. I thought if
we got the guy at first, we'd have a shot at Izturis at home
because I thought I froze him a little bit.
"But it wasn't the right play. If I run toward him or throw it
home and get him in a rundown, it's probably the right play. But I
didn't think he was off the bag as far as he was. It was a bad
Kent then doubled over Jim Edmonds' head for another run as the
center fielder attempted a diving catch on a ball that was way out
of his reach.
"Tonight we came out a determined team, played hard for nine
innings and were able to get the victory against a good ballclub,"
Morris allowed a season-high seven runs -- five earned -- and 10
hits in seven innings. The right-hander, who wasn't selected to the
NL All-Star team despite his 8-0 start, is 3-4 with a 4.40 ERA over
his last seven outings. This was his first appearance at Dodger
Stadium since losing 4-0 to Jose Lima in Game 3 of the NL division
series, which the Cardinals won in four games en route to their
first pennant since 1987.
The Cardinals trimmed the Dodgers' lead to 5-4 in the fifth.
Pujols homered on Brad Penny's first pitch of the inning, an
opposite-field drive that just cleared the right-field fence.
Edmonds followed with a single, advanced on a wild pitch and scored
from third on a single by So Taguchi.
An infield single by Mike Mahoney loaded the bases. But rookie
catcher Dioner Navarro, making his NL debut, tagged out Mark
Grudzielanek after Morris missed on an attempted suicide squeeze.
Morris then struck out, leaving the potential tying and go-ahead
runs in scoring position.
"It was one of those nights he made too many mistakes and he
couldn't overcome them," manager Tony La Russa said. "He didn't
cover first on one play ... It was probably one of the toughest
nights I've seen him have in our uniform."
Another Friday call-up, Double-A prospect Jonathan Broxton, made
his major league debut in the sixth and gave up the tying run.
David Eckstein and Abraham Nunez singled with none out against the
21-year-old right-hander, who struck out Pujols before both runners
advanced on a wild pitch to Edmonds. Broxton intentionally walked
Edmonds, and John Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly that made it 5-all.
"They just told me to pitch to my strength. It was exciting,"
Broxton said. "I had a few jitters in my system, but everything
else was fine. The mound is still 60 feet, 6 inches away, but
there's a lot more things around it. Whatever it takes to help the
big league team win, I'll do it -- whether it's getting one batter
out or throw a whole inning."
Navarro, promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas earlier in the day,
was one of the prospects the Dodgers got from Arizona last January
for Shawn Green.
"We had a chance to incorporate the kids that were brought up
today, and I was impressed with the way Navarro handled the
staff," manager Jim Tracy said.
Eckstein's ailing father, Whitey, is scheduled to get a
kidney transplant on Aug. 19 in Orlando, Fla., after waiting more
than more than two years on a list for a suitable donor. Three of
David's siblings have had kidney transplants. ... Broxton appeared
in 28 games for Jacksonville, including 13 starts, and was 4-3 with
a 3.36 ERA. ... Dodgers LHP Derek Thompson, fighting chronic elbow
problems since 2003, underwent successful "Tommy John" surgery.
... Los Angeles designated RHP Scott Erickson for assignment.