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Yanks cut Cards a lopsided defeat
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06/14/2003  7:10 PM ET 
Yanks cut Cards a lopsided defeat
Morris leaves after rain delay, Martinez homers twice
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com

Matt Morris' first start at Yankee Stadium lasted less than one inning. (Cardinals/Scott Rovak)
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NEW YORK -- Rain, hail and baseballs fell from the sky at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Yankees pounded four home runs off Brett Tomko en route to a 13-4 win over the Cardinals. St. Louis starter Matt Morris was removed from the game after an 87-minute first-inning rain delay. Morris took the loss, giving up four runs in 2/3-inning and throwing 33 pitches.

It was a bitter disappointment for Morris, who grew up near New York City and long dreamed of pitching at "The Stadium." But after suffering some discomfort under his shoulder recently, there was some relief for the St. Louis ace in the simple fact that he came out feeling OK.

"Honestly, as far as my arm felt, I was pretty happy with the way I felt and able to throw some decent pitches," Morris said. "but the rain delay…

"I would like to go deeper and get into some kind of rhythm. Coming back into Yankee Stadium was a big deal to me, and to get (only) two outs stinks. I would have liked to go back out there and battle and try to keep my team in it and give them a chance to win."

    Matt Morris   /   P
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 210
Bats/Throws: R/R

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In addition to the discomfort, Morris seemed distracted -- perhaps by the weather, perhaps by the surroundings -- in his first career start against the Yankees.

Alfonso Soriano led off with an infield single, and Derek Jeter reached on a force. Morris walked the next two batters as the conditions got progressively worse. He induced a popup from Robin Ventura, but Hideki Matsui lined a three-run double to left field. The game was delayed at 3:39 p.m. ET with Ruben Sierra at the plate and Matsui on second.

"I'm just trying to make pitches," Morris said. "Obviously, I wasn't in a rhythm. My body wasn't feeling that great. You've got to concentrate on some other things sometimes to make the pitch. I was just trying to get the ball down and stay relaxed and concentrate on making pitches. I wasn't able to muscle up anything today."

Either way, the Cards elected to take no chances with their ace. They called on Tomko, who promptly gave up a run-scoring single by Sierra and another single to Raul Mondesi before getting out of the inning.

After Morris left, Tomko was game -- manager Tony La Russa said he was "a hero." He tossed 5 1/3 innings in relief, three days after lasting two innings in a start in Boston. He was not, however, particularly effective. He was charged with nine more runs, sending his ERA soaring to 6.20. Over his past six appearances, Tomko has given up 35 earned runs in 30 innings for a 10.50 ERA. He is winless since April 25.

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La Russa said he suspected the Yankees had some clue what Tomko was throwing before he threw it. But he declined to speculate whether that meant that they were stealing signs, or that Tomko was tipping his pitches.

"It looked to me like some of the swings they knew what was coming," La Russa said. "So it's up to us to figure out how and why. It's tough enough in this league without giving up edges like that. We'll try to figure it out."

Tino Martinez went deep against Andy Pettitte (6-6) in the top of the second, cutting the New York lead to 4-2, and received a rousing ovation from the Yankee Stadium faithful. Martinez played six years for the Yankees before leaving as a free agent after the 2001 season.

But the game immediately got out of hand for Tomko and the Redbirds. Soriano rapped a leadoff double in the bottom of the second, and Jeter doubled him home. Jason Giambi crushed a navel-high pitch deep to right and it was 7-2. Matsui drove in the eighth run with a single in the second after Jorge Posada doubled.

Giambi ripped another homer, a two-run job to left-center, in the third. Ruben Sierra's solo shot in the fourth made it 11-2 and Mondesi added a two-run longball in the sixth. Despite the ugly line, Tomko found some encouraging signs in his last three innings.

"I finally could throw a curveball," he said. "I didn't get some calls on the outside corner with my curveball, which put me behind guys, and I had to come to them. I finally was able to throw my sinker to the other side of the plate and have it come back.

"So to me, even though the score didn't show it, there was a couple positive things that I felt out there. I've been searching for that since Spring Training."

Dustin Hermanson pitched two shutout innings in relief for St. Louis, while Martinez added a second two-run homer in the ninth and once again was hailed by the home fans.

"It was nice to get one here, period," Martinez said. "I got one and it felt good, put us back in the game. The second one, the game was out of hand already so it was really no big deal."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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