Morris shook off a rough opening day start by allowing just two earned runs and five hits Saturday in a complete-game, 10-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 14th complete game of Morris’ career came just five days after he gave up seven runs—five earned—in six innings of an 8-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I tried to correct everything,” said Morris. “My curveball, I tried to make it a little sharper—although it wasn’t as good as I know I can throw it. But having the changeup allowed me to get some outs instead of battling with the heater.”
Morris needed just 93 pitches to finish off the Diamondbacks, forcing 16 ground-ball outs and four pop-ups.
“I’ll take that every time,” he said. “The innings are what I’m shooting for. The bullpen, the first series we wore them out. … Today I was lucky enough to get some early outs.”
The Cardinals could use a similar performance Friday. They were outscored 26-9 while being swept in three games by the Houston Astros, falling to 1-6 at Busch—their worst start since also opening 1-6 at home in 1973. They were crushed 11-1 by Houston on Wednesday.
“It’s a six-month season and you can’t put too much stock in a three-game series,” center fielder Jim Edmonds said. “You’re going to go up and down all year.
“This is the down part now, I guess, if you want to call it that.”
The Cardinals, who got their first off-day of the year Thursday, were outscored 35-20 by Milwaukee in their season-opening series, but bounced back to outscore Arizona 29-13 in a three-game sweep.
“A day off is always good when you’re playing bad,” Edmonds said. “I’m sure Houston isn’t looking forward to a day off, and we are.
“If you want to sum it up, say it’s pretty tough to win when you don’t pitch, you don’t hit and you don’t play defense. What else is there? We’re not good enough to win without that, case closed.”
The Rockies lost 11-10 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, snapping their three-game winning streak. Jeromy Burnitz tripled, singled and drove in three runs, and Todd Helton went 2-for-2 with three walks for Colorado, which battled back from a 7-2 third-inning deficit.
STANDINGS (through April 15): Rockies - 3rd place (tied), 1 GB, NL West. Cardinals - 6th place, 2 1/2 GB, NL Central.
ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Denny Stark (0-1, 10.50 ERA). Stark gave up seven earned runs and 10 hits over six innings in Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first outing of the season. The right-hander is 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two career appearances, including one start, against the Cardinals.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Morris (1-1, 4.20 ERA). The right-hander is 3-3 with a 5.02 ERA in seven career starts against the Rockies.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Charles Johnson, .391 avg., 3 HRs and 10 RBIs; Helton, 10 runs; four tied at 1 SB. Cardinals - Scott Rolen, .357 avg., 5 HRs and 16 RBIs; Albert Pujols, 10 runs; Tony Womack, 5 SBs.
2003 SEASON SERIES: Rockies, 4-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - OF Larry Walker, who has been on the DL with a strained groin since spring training, played catch before Thursday’s game. … Colorado scored 25 runs during its three-game winning streak. … RHP Stark gave up just two hits in two scoreless innings in his only previous career appearance at Busch on Sept. 10. Cardinals - OF Edmonds went 4-for-8 with a double, homer, three RBIs and five walks in the Houston series. … Cardinals pitchers have given up 15 homers in seven games at Busch Stadium this season. … RHP Jason Isringhausen allowed just his third homer in three seasons Wednesday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 2-4 on the road; Cardinals - 1-6 at home.
INJURIES: Rockies - OF Walker (groin), 15-day DL; OF Preston Wilson (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Adam Bernero (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (elbow), 60-day DL. Cardinals - OF Roger Cedeno (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Rick Ankiel (elbow), 15-day DL.