Cardinals 10, Diamondbacks 2

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PHOENIX (AP)—The St. Louis Cardinals knocked the Arizona Diamondbacks around again as if it was batting practice.

Scott Rolen homered twice and drove in five runs to power the Cardinals to a 10-2 victory on Saturday night.

Edgar Renteria went 4-for-5 with three doubles for the Cardinals, who have outscored Arizona 23-8 and have 30 hits in the first two games of the three-game series.

“These guys are crushing the ball,” said Matt Morris, who got a complete-game victory.

Ray Lankford homered and doubled twice as St. Louis boosted its home run total to 15, most in the majors.

“Maybe some mistakes were made, some balls were up and out over the plate a little more than they would have liked them to be,” Rolen said. “But we’re a good offensive ball club. You can make mistakes, but they’re not mistakes unless somebody puts them in play and hits the ball hard. And that’s what we’ve been able to do the last couple of days.”

The Cardinals have eight homers and 12 doubles in two games against the Diamondbacks.

Arizona manager Bob Brenly sat out a one-game suspension for his conduct toward an umpire in a spring training game. But he watched the misery on television from the clubhouse.

“We are not pitching them particularly well, and they’re swinging the bats real well,” Brenly said, “and that’s a bad, bad combination.”

Hall of Famer Robin Yount was the acting manager.

“I hated it,” he said. “It’s not any fun when the game goes like that.”

Morris (1-1) threw a five-hitter in his 14th career complete game, bouncing back from his awful outing in the season opener, when he was rocked for seven runs in six innings against Milwaukee. He threw just 93 pitches.

“That’s Matt’s game,” La Russa said.

Rolen and Lankford also homered in Friday night’s 13-6 victory. Rolen is 5-for-9 in the series with nine RBIs.

“That’s why he’s one of the best all-around players in baseball,” manager Tony La Russa said.

Knuckleballer Steve Sparks (0-1) took the loss in his first start in two seasons. Sparks, a reliever for Detroit and Oakland last season, is 0-12 since his last victory, on Aug. 16, 2002, for the Tigers at Baltimore.

He allowed six runs, five earned, on eight hits in six innings.

“I ended up leaving my slow knuckleball up in the strike zone a couple of times and got hurt on it,” Sparks said. “But the two pitches that hurt me the most were two fastballs that I left out over the plate.”

The Cardinals went up 3-1 in the fourth when Jim Edmonds drew a leadoff walk and Rolen hit the first pitch into the left-field stands.

Tony Womack led off the fifth with a bunt single, went to third on Lankford’s double, then scored on a passed ball. After Albert Pujols reached on third baseman Shea Hillenbrand’s throwing error, Lankford scored on Edmonds’ sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.

Arizona got a run in the sixth when Brent Mayne singled, advanced to third on a pair of ground outs, then scored when Matt Kata’s slow grounder got past Morris and second baseman Womack.

St. Louis blew it open with four runs in the seventh, three on Rolen’s homer into the Arizona bullpen off reliever Oscar Villarreal.

The Cardinals’ Roger Cedeno reinjured his left hamstring chasing a fly ball in the eighth inning, and pitcher Jason Simontacchi pinch-hit for him in the ninth. Because St. Louis had no position players available, Simontacchi played left field in the final half-inning.

La Russa said Cedeno will be out for “a couple of weeks” and probably willgo on the 15-day disabled list.


Arizona 2B Roberto Alomar was kept out of the starting lineup as a precaution after he was clipped in the left leg by Womack while turning a double play Friday night. X-rays were negative. He pinch-hit for Sparks in the sixth and grounded out. … St. Louis scored 14 runs and hit seven homers against Casey Daigle and Sparks, the No. 4 and 5 pitchers in the Arizona rotation. … Before this series, Lankford had not homered since July 2, 2002.He sat out all of last season while recovering from a hamstring injury.

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