Kansas City (36-33) at St. Louis (38-33)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO, US
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri Jun 20, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

St. Louis ace Matt Morris looks to regain his winning form as the Cardinals open a three-game interleague series against their intrastate rivals, the Kansas City Royals.

Morris lasted just two-thirds of an inning on Saturday, allowing four runs and two hits before an 87-minute rain delay ended his day against the Yankees.

The right-hander leads the NL with four complete games, but has just one win in his last four starts and has an 8.10 ERA during that span.

Morris has not felt 100 percent physically lately, as a “knot” beneath his right shoulder blade has affected his curveball.

With a full five days’ of rest, and more emphasis on running and exercising between starts, the ace believes his arm problems should be past him.

“I have a tendency to slack off sometimes when I’m feeling good,” he said. “I’m going to be better about it from here on. (The knot) is kind of a wake-up call for me.”

Both St. Louis and Kansas City come into their first of back-to-back weekend matchups involved in tight division races.

After taking three of four from the Brewers, the Cardinals are one game behind Chicago in a four-team battle in the NL Central. The Royals, who won three of four against Minnesota this week, are just two games behind the Twins in the AL Central.

“It should be six competitive games,” said St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa, whose Cardinals lead the all-time series 11-10.

STANDINGS: Royals - 2nd place, 2 GB, AL Central. Cardinals - 2nd place (tied), 1 GB, NL Central.

ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Jose Lima (0-0, 6.00 ERA). The veteran right-hander made his first major league start since Aug. 24 on Sunday against San Francisco. The former 21-game winner went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits, with one walk and one strikeout in a 5-4 win, but didn’t figure in the decision. Lima has never beaten the Cardinals in his career, going 0-4 with a 7.51 ERA in eight games.

CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Morris (7-4, 3.39 ERA). The right-hander has allowed 11 runs and 13 hits in his last 5 2-3 innings.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Royals - Mike Sweeney, .321 avg., 12 HRs and 50 RBIs; Raul Ibanez, 41 runs; Carlos Beltran, 18 SBs. Cardinals - Albert Pujols, .386 avg., 60 RBIs and 62 runs; Pujols and Jim Edmonds, 19 HRs; Edgar Renteria, 12 SBs.

2002 SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 5-1.

INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Royals - 6-5. Cardinals - 7-5.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Royals - 3B Joe Randa extended his errorless streak to 75 games Thursday. … SS Angel Berroa picked up his 100th career hit with a third inning single in Thursday’s loss. … 1B Sweeney, still bothered by a stiff upper back suffered on Tuesday night, said he hopes to be back in the lineup Friday night. Cardinals - OF Pujols leads the NL in hits with 98. … SS Renteria went 2-for-5 in Thursday’s win. He has 94 hits, second to Pujols in the NL. … INF Bo Hart went 2-for-3 on Thursday, hitting a double and triple in his big league debut.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Royals - 16-18 on the road; Cardinals - 22-12 at home.

INJURIES: Royals - IF Mendy Lopez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Dee Brown (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Runelvys Hernandez (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Miguel Asencio (elbow), 60-day DL. Cardinals - C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; C Chris Widger (thumb), 15-day DL; 2B Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lima NYM vs. M. Morris PIT
8-3 Record 11-8
4.91 ERA 3.76
32 K 120
26 BB 39
1.45 WHIP 1.18