Series: Game 3 of 3

Colorado won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, April 1
Colorado 2Final
St. Louis 10
Game 2: Wednesday, April 3
Colorado 6Final
St. Louis 3
Game 3: Thursday, April 4
Colorado 6Final
St. Louis 1

Rockies 6

(2-1, 2-1 away)

Cardinals 1

(1-2, 1-2 home)

    1:10 PM ET, April 4, 2002

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    COL 001130001 6 - -
    STL 100000000 1 - -

    W: J. Thomson (1-0)

    L: A. Benes (0-1)

    Benes' comeback derailed by shaky outing

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- So far, the St. Louis Cardinals' comeback kids are 0-2.

    John Thomson worked seven strong innings as the Colorado Rockies got to Andy Benes in a 6-1 victory on Thursday.

    Benes, who wasn't used in the final month last year and was left off the Cardinals' playoff roster because of a 7.38 ERA, struggled just as Garrett Stephenson had a night earlier.

    "When you have the ball, it's up to you get the guy out," Benes said. "I'm disappointed with the result. I'm sure I'll do better next time."

    Benes, slowed by a knee problem last year, made his first start since Aug. 3 and first appearance since Aug. 30. He lasted four innings, giving up five runs -- four earned -- on four hits.

    Juan Uribe and Benny Agbayani homered for the Rockies, who took two of three in the season-opening series. Last year, the Rockies swept the Cardinals in Denver to start the year.

    "We did a lot of good things the last few days," manager Buddy Bell said. "We didn't swing the bats all that well last night or even today, but we did some situational stuff we really need to do. It shows the kind of guys we have."

    Thomson allowed a run on seven hits, striking out three and walking none, and induced 14 pop-ups. The Cardinals scored in the first on Fernando Vina's leadoff single, stolen base and a sacrifice fly by J.D. Drew, but didn't get a runner past second the rest of the way.

    Thomson, who has a 21-35 career record, allowed three runs in his last 16 spring training innings. He's also been on the comeback trail since undergoing shoulder surgery after the 1999 season, and gave the Rockies encouragement when he finished 4-2 with a 3.63 ERA in his last 11 starts last year.

    "I got probably to the top of the hill last year in July, I guess," Thomson said. "I talked to Mike Hampton and he said 'You finally figured it out, you don't have to throw 95 mph to get guys out."'

    St. Louis, the NL wild card winner last year, battered Hampton in a 10-2 opening-day victory. The Cardinals totaled four runs against Thomson and Denny Neagle the last two games of the series.

    "Neagle and Thomson have really done a great job considering the lineup they've got to face," Bell said. "I think that should give us a little optimism going further into the season."

    Benes struggled with a knee injury last year, allowing 30 homers in 107 innings. The problem persisted in his debut with Uribe connecting in the third to tie it at 1 and Agbayani hitting his first with one out in the fourth to give the Rockies the lead.

    Benes' throwing error in the fifth helped the Rockies break away. After Thomson drew a leadoff walk and Juan Pierre singled, Uribe ended up with a bunt hit after Benes hesitated after taking a look at third and threw wildly to first. Thomson scored on the play and Pierre advanced to second.

    Benes said he thought he surprised third baseman Placido Polanco by getting off the mound so quickly.

    "I went to throw to third and they were all yelling '1,"' Benes said. "I couldn't get turned around fast enough to throw it over there and make a good throw. That's a little thing in a game, but it was a big thing today."

    Pierre ended up scoring on a wild pitch by Mike Matthews and a third run scored on Todd Helton's groundout.

    Game notes

    Vina, the second toughest player to strike out in the major leagues last year at one per 19.7 at-bats, has fanned in each of the first three games. He's off to a 2-for-14 start. ... Thompson has 317 strikeouts, two behind Bruce Ruffin for fourth on the Rockies career list. ... The Cardinals and Rockies don't play again until a three-game series starting Sept. 17 in Denver. ... The Cardinals had 19 straight singles until Polanco doubled in the eighth off Kent Mercker.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press