ST. LOUIS (AP)—Matt Morris was one of Darryl Kile’s best friends on the St. Louis Cardinals. On the night his former teammate was honored, Morris kept his emotions and the Washington Nationals in check.
Jim Edmonds homered, doubled twice and had four RBIs, and Morris remained unbeaten in nine starts this season to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Nationals 6-3 Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
“It’s a hard thing for me, still,” Morris said. “DK is always in the back of my mind.”
Kile’s children removed their father’s jersey number 57—which was up because it coincided with the number of home games left at Busch Stadium—from the right-field wall Friday night as part of the final-year countdown at the 40-year-old ballpark. Kile’s widow, Flynn Kile, made her first appearance at the stadium since Darryl Kile’s funeral in 2002.
The Kiles are staying in St. Louis for the three-game series that ends Sunday.
“This was another special night,” Edmonds said. “They’re here now, the family’s here and it’s another unbelievable time for us, emotional and just a big lift for the team to see them.”
John Mabry and Mark Grudzielanek each had an RBI single in the Cardinals’ first regular-season home game involving a team from Washington. About half of the sellout crowd of 47,383 stayed for the end of the game after a 27-minute rain delay before the bottom of the seventh.
The NL Central leaders, who at 31-16 are off to the second-best start in franchise history, were 3-0 against the former Montreal Expos in spring training.
Morris (5-0) worked seven innings and gave up three runs—two earned—on five hits with eight strikeouts and no walks to win his third consecutive start. He gave up all three runs on three hits and a throwing error by shortstop David Eckstein in the third but otherwise was in command, striking out the side in the first and working four perfect innings.
Edmonds, who had been in a 1-for-14 slump, hit a two-run homer to straightaway center in the first off Tony Armas Jr. (1-3). He added a two-run double in the third to match his season best for RBIs, also achieved in the opener April 5 at Houston, and was walked intentionally in the fifth ahead of Mabry’s RBI single that made it 5-3. He doubled to start the eighth, a half-inning after robbing Nick Johnson with a running catch at the warning track, and scored on Grudzielanek’s broken-bat single over a drawn-in infield against Luis Ayala.
“Big difference from yesterday,” Edmonds said. “And the day before, and the day before and the day before, and the day before that.”
Johnson had a two-run double and Brad Wilkerson had an RBI double in the third for the Nationals, who have lost four straight. On their off-day Thursday, the team made nine roster moves after a three-game road sweep at Cincinnati.
“Actually, everybody is still positive,” Armas said. “We’ve just got to put things together.”
Armas faced the Cardinals for the first time since Aug. 8, 2001, and lasted five innings. He gave up five runs on five hits and five walks, falling to 0-6 with a 7.80 ERA on the road since April 10, 2003.
“He made some mistakes, obviously, up in the zone, and not just to one hitter” catcher Brian Schneider said. “He didn’t pitch real good to Edmonds.”
Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 13th save in 13 chances.
Eckstein has four errors in five games this week. He had a career-worst three errors on Sunday and has nine on the season, three more than all last season. … The Cardinals’ start is second in franchise history only to a 33-14 record in 1941. The 1941 team finished second. … Yadier Molina had five straight hits over two games before lining out to center to end the second. Molina was 0-for-4. … In his last two starts, Armas has given up 12 runs in 12 innings. … Cristian Guzman had been in a 1-for-33 slump before singling to start the third. … The Cardinals are 84-49 in Morris’ starts since 2001 and Morris is 53-26 for his career at home.