Cards' Morris outdueled by Schilling
PHOENIX (AP) -- It wasn't the road that undermined Matt Morris. And it certainly wasn't the wildness that plagued Rick Ankiel when St. Louis opened the playoffs last year.
It was something beyond Morris' control -- he was simply outdueled by Curt Schilling.
Morris couldn't have pitched much better than he did in the Cardinals' 1-0 loss to Arizona in Tuesday night's opener of their first-round NL playoffs series.
"I got into trouble at first, and the game could have totally slipped away from me, but I was able to focus and get out," said Morris, who threw five straight balls at the start. "At this point, you don't know how many more games you're going to pitch, so I got out of no-out jams in the second and third, and I think that fired up a lot of the guys."
There was little to quibble with in his seven-inning, six-hit, six-strikeout performance, his first playoff start after four relief appearances. He walked two and hit Damian Miller, who later scored on a single by Steve Finley in the fifth inning.
Morris didn't think much of Miller's effort to get out of the way of an inside fastball.
"It nipped off his leg, and they end up moving him over, and a single scores him with two out," Morris said. "Two-out hits decide these ballgames. I almost wish I'd hit him in the back, if he's going to take first. But who knew that run was going to decide the game?"
Morris, capping his first full season after elbow ligament surgery, held Luis Gonzalez hitless in four at-bats with the help of two spectacular defensive plays.
Morris' game was far from the disaster of Oct. 3, 2000, when the 21-year-old Ankiel, also making his first postseason start, became the first pitcher in 110 years to throw five wild pitches in an innings. The Cardinals managed to battle back and beat the Braves 7-5.
Morris, who won 22 games during the regular season to tie Schilling for the major league lead, was 15-2 with a 1.62 ERA in St. Louis and 7-5 with a 5.15 ERA on the road. But he pitched well at Bank One Ballpark and gave his team a chance to win.
"Losing is never easy in any game, but especially one like this where everybody is so fired up," Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny said. "Matt showed some great character, and he showed us that he's every bit of what we saw all season long."
Morris struck out Gonzalez, who had 57 homers and 142 RBIs in the regular season, in the first inning, and got him to pop up weakly to right field in the fourth.
Edmonds retreated to the fence in front of the swimming pool in right center, leaped to get his glove above the fence and catch the ball, then fell next to a sign advertising pool products.
"If it doesn't go out of the ballpark, you have to do the best you can to catch it, so that's all I was trying to do," Edmonds said. "That's the job -- just go and catch it."
In his final at-bat against Morris, Gonzalez lined a shot to first that McGwire stopped but sprawled full-length to recover. The first baseman then crawled to the bag to record the out.