PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Four-time Cy Young Award winner Randy
Johnson may be known as the "The Big Unit" but he continues to
come up very small in Division Series competition.
Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen hit two-run homers off baseball's
best pitcher and the St. Louis Cardinals scored six times in the
seventh inning en route to a 12-2 triumph over the Arizona
Diamondbacks in the opener of their National League Division
St. Louis jumped on Johnson - likely in line for another Cy
Young Award - for six runs and 10 hits in six innings. Edmonds
hit a two-run homer off the 6-10 lefthander in the opening
inning and Rolen added a long two-run shot in the fourth.
Johnson (0-1) fell to 0-7 in his last seven Division Series
starts and, despite winning his five prior postseason
appearances, sports just a 7-8 career postseason record.
"It appeared to me that mechanically he was rushing a little
bit," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "When he does that, his
velocity drops down. His slider is not quite as sharp as it
usually is. They were a very unforgiving team to him tonight.
He made some mistakes. They hit him hard."
"I didn't pitch as well as I should have, could have," Johnson
said. "Just didn't make the quality pitches that you see over
the course of a regular season. You need to make them in a
five-game series because the game is so much more magnified."
Brenly and Johnson offered their takes on the superstar's struggles
in the Division Series.
"I would guess it probably has to do with the opponent that he
faces in the Division Series more so than just the Division
Series itself," Brenly said. "It's a good ballclub over there.
They had a real good game plan against him. ... all their
hitters were concentrating on staying up the middle of the
field, which is a great approach against Randy Johnson."
"I guess the numbers don't lie, Johnson said. "I guess I have
some pretty bad luck (in the Division Series). There's
no rhyme or reason. I couldn't tell you."
On Tuesday, Johnson was in trouble throughout and no match for
St. Louis ace Matt Morris (1-0). The Cardinals righthander was
a bit shaky early but allowed just two runs - one earned - and
six hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out three.
"I think there was a point where it clicked," Morris said. "But
having the runs, of course, made it a little easier. But I think
from the fourth or fifth on, I was able to locate some
fastballs and kind of settle down. I felt like I was getting a
little stronger. But, you know, again, the offense gave me a
"He had the best stuff I've seen him have all year in the
bullpen," Morris' batterymate Mike Matheny said. "He came in and
he was fired up. He was excited how the ball was coming out of
After an off day on Wednesday, the series resumes Thursday with
Arizona sending Curt Schilling to the mound. The Cardinals
counter with veteran lefthander Chuck Finley.
"It's big (because) you always want to get that first game but we still
have a big game on Thursday," Pujols said.
"I'm not depressed," Diamondbacks first baseman Mark Grace said.
"There's hopefully three games left if we play well. We didn't
expect to sweep these guys. If we are going to beat the guys we
fully expect it to be a five-game series."
Fernando Vina opened the game by reaching on an error and one
out later Edmonds drilled a homer over the right-center field
wall. Edmonds, who hit two homers against Arizona in last
year's Division Series, has six career postseason homers.
"It was big to try and get on the board early," Vina said. "When
your facing Randy any run you can get early is big and
fortunately that's what we did."
"I just tried to get a strike to hit," Edmonds said. "That's
about all you can do against him. We did a great job of
sticking to our game plan and making him pitch."
Arizona got back a run in the bottom of the first but had a
potentially big inning cut short when Junior Spivey was thrown
out at the plate on a single by Matt Williams.
The Diamondbacks drew even in the third on a two-out single by
Quinton McCracken that scored Steve Finley but the game wasn't
deadlocked long as St. Louis scored three times in the fourth.
Albert Pujols, who hit a two-run homer off Johnson in last
year's Division Series, opened the fourth with a long triple and
Rolen crushed Johnson's next offering over the wall in
left-center field for a 4-2 lead.
"It's a great feeling," Rolen said of participating in his first
postseason game. "Usually I am in Florida fishing. What I
tried to do was take a few steps back, take a few deep breaths
and try not to get caught up in the emotion and the adrenaline
you are going to have. The home run helped me relax. I was just
trying to put the ball in play up the middle and he got the
ball up a little bit."
A sacrifice fly in the sixth by Eli Marrero, who is 0-for-16 in
postseason play, extended the Cardinals' lead to 6-2.
"You don't expect the game to go like that especially against a
quality pitcher," Marrero said. "We went out there and battled
and we got two early runs. Then we kept the momentum going."
Any chance the Diamondbacks had of getting back into the game
was all but eliminated by St. Louis' big seventh inning. The
Cardinals sent 11 batters to the plate, had just four hits but
scored six times. Morris and Pujols had two-run singles in the
Rolen made two of the three outs in the seventh.
The Diamondbacks bullpen continued to be a problem as Matt
Mantei and Greg Swindell combined to retire just one batter and
surrendered all six runs in the seventh.