10/02/2002 03:07 am ET
Edmonds gets ball rolling for Cards
Three hits, including first-inning homer, sets tone in win
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- The Cardinals scored 12 runs in five games while losing last year's Division Series to the Diamondbacks. Their ability to match that total in Tuesday night's series opener -- while launching their offense against Randy Johnson, no less -- vividly demonstrated their potential for bringing this rematch to an entirely different conclusion.
The Cardinals' surprisingly rough treatment of Johnson began with center fielder Jim Edmonds, whose two-run homer in the first inning opened the scoring in St. Louis' 12-2 victory at Bank One Ballpark.
Edmonds proceeded to single in his next two at-bats against Johnson before grounding out in the sixth inning, defying the percentages as a left-handed batter facing the formidable southpaw. It was an impressive showing by Edmonds, who hit .262 against lefties this year compared to .329 against right-handers. Moreover, he entered the game with a paltry .222 lifetime average (6-for-27) with two home runs and nine strikeouts against Johnson.
Edmonds, however, was extremely unimpressed with his performance.
"What do you want me to say? It's our job," Edmonds said. "We do the best we can to put the ball in play. Going into the game, you think if you can get on base once, you're doing a good job against him as a left-handed hitter."
Edmonds' approach in that first at-bat was extremely simple.
"I was just trying to get a strike to hit," he said of the 1-1 fastball he deposited into the right-field seats, an estimated 424 feet from home plate. "That's all you can do against him."
The rest of the Cardinals followed Edmonds' example as St. Louis reached Johnson for six runs and 10 hits in six innings.
"You have to give our team credit," Edmonds said. "We did a good job of sticking to a game plan and making him pitch -- trying to hit strikes and not be overaggressive and match his velocity with overswinging and swinging at a lot of balls. This team's getting better and better with discipline and listening to each other."
The impact of Edmonds and his teammates was deeply appreciated by Cardinals starter and winning pitcher Matt Morris, who repeatedly credited the hitters. "Today's game was our offense," Morris repeated.
As for Edmonds, St. Louis' relatively barren output at the plate in the 2001 Division Series remained on his mind.
"The way we played last year in this series, it was tough scoring runs," he said. "So any time you get a chance to get a lead or a run to break the ice, it's big."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.