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Defending champs beaten in every way

Posted: Wednesday October 02, 2002 3:05 AM
Updated: Wednesday October 02, 2002 4:50 AM
  Randy Johnson The Cardinals jumped on Randy Johnson for six runs and 10 hits in six innings. AP

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona manager Bob Brenly was sure the Diamondbacks wouldn't get many runs off Matt Morris, and he was right on that count.

But this never figured in his thinking: Randy Johnson giving up six runs.

The Diamondbacks scored twice off Morris. As for the St. Louis Cardinals, they treated Johnson and the Arizona bullpen like batting practice pitchers on the way to a 12-2 win Tuesday night in the NL division series opener.

"It appears to me that mechanically he was rushing a little bit, and when he does that his velocity usually drops down," Brenly said. "His slider's not quite as sharp as it usually is, and they were a very unforgiving team to him tonight."

Johnson was held out of last week's series when the Cardinals swept the Diamondbacks in St. Louis. So much for strategy.

The usually overpowering left-hander allowed 10 hits, including two-run homers to Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen, and was lifted after the sixth, trailing 6-2. He gave up five earned runs.

Johnson's first three fastballs were clocked at 91, 93 and 93 mph -- far below his norm.

In the field and on the basepaths, the Diamondbacks looked out of sorts from the start, blowing their only chance to get a lead for Johnson to protect.

That happened in the third inning when Junior Spivey hit a chopper to Rolen at third.

Rolen had to wait for the ball and threw awkwardly off his back foot. Spivey appeared to beat the throw, but umpire Bill Miller called him out. Several replays were shown, each drawing sustained boos from the capacity crowd.

"You saw it," Brenly said. "But when you get beat 12-2, it's hard to complain about the umpiring."

In the first inning, shortstop Tony Womack's throwing error -- his eighth miscue in a 27-game span -- led to St. Louis' first run. Leadoff hitter Fernando Vina was aboard for Jim Edmonds' 424-foot homer, the first sign Johnson would not dominate.

Womack got a break in Arizona's half, reaching first on a soft liner to second that bounced off Vina's glove for an error, taking third on a single by Spivey and scoring on Steve Finley's sacrifice fly.

But the Diamondbacks came out of the inning trailing 2-1 after Spivey tried to score from second on a sharp single to left by Matt Williams.

Albert Pujols threw a one-hopper to Mike Matheny at home plate, nailing Spivey by several feet. Quinton McCracken then flied out to end the rally.

"I froze on the line drive, wasn't able to get a good jump and they made a good play at the play," Spivey said.

Left fielder David Dellucci said the Diamondbacks lived by aggressive baserunning all season and had to stay in character.

"You can't second-guess anything," Dellucci said. "It took a perfect throw to get him out, and it was a perfect throw. So what can you say? It was a night where those guys came out on fire and hit the ball all over the ballpark.

"Those kind are easier to take than losing one 3-2 and trying to figure out what went wrong."

After that, Morris -- who lost Game 1 of the division series last year with Arizona's Curt Schilling pitching -- shut the door. He allowed just two singles in the next four innings while his teammates broke the game open.

"He kept the ball down," Spivey said. "It's tough to get any elevation when you do that."

 
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