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Morris' outing all too familiar
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10/25/2004 3:35 AM ET
Morris' outing all too familiar
Right-hander's mistakes prove costly to Cardinals
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Matt Morris walks to the dugout after being removed from Game 2 in the fifth inning. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

BOSTON -- In one sense, Matt Morris was in completely unfamiliar territory in Game 2 of the World Series, pitching on three days' rest for the first time and doing it on the game's biggest stage and in one of its toughest venues for visitors.

In another sense, the results were a little too familiar, pretty much amounting to a microcosm of Morris' 2004 season.

Morris gave it his all and had his good times and bad times, just as he did in the regular season. In this particular situation, the bad hurt more than the good helped as he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in the Cardinals' 6-2 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.


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Morris simply couldn't close the deal in the first inning and the fourth. He allowed two runs with two outs in each of those frames to put the Cardinals in a hole that they couldn't climb out of against Boston's Curt Schilling.

And now St. Louis is in a 2-0 hole in the World Series as the Cardinals head home to St. Louis for Game 3 on Tuesday.

The losing decision certainly wasn't for lack of effort from Morris, or even stuff -- despite the three days' rest.

"I felt good," said Morris, who threw 89 pitches, 50 for strikes. "I felt like my stuff was fine, my velocity was fine. I just made some mistakes with a few pitches and you can't do that against them."

Said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa: "Well, I think Matt did a heck of a job. I thought his stuff was good. I mean, you look at it, he gives up four runs on two swings with two outs."

Morris had gotten the first two batters of the game on groundouts, a good sign to start off an outing at Fenway Park, where fly balls toward the Green Monster can really hurt. But he followed by walking Manny Ramirez on six pitches and David Ortiz on eight to bring Jason Varitek to the plate.

"I think I got too cute with Manny, I didn't finish him off," Morris said. "I gave him a curve and he didn't offer. I gave him a cutter and he didn't fish for it. I should have put him away but I didn't. They did a good job laying off close pitches."

   Matt Morris  /   P
Born: 08/09/74
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

After those two tough at-bats, Morris left a 1-2 changeup where Varitek could hit it, and the Boston catcher drilled it into center for a two-run triple.

In the fourth, it was a hit batter that got him into trouble. After he hit Kevin Millar with a pitch with one out, he struck out Trot Nixon on three pitches. But back-to-back doubles by Bill Mueller and Mark Bellhorn put the Cardinals in deeper water.

La Russa pulled Morris after he'd walked Orlando Cabrera on five pitches and gotten Ramirez to fly out to right to start the fifth.

"At that point, to me, in that inning, he was starting to force it and on three days' rest, I got him out because I think this -- we're pushing it too far, he might hurt himself and that's what I told him," La Russa said. "I said, 'Matt, you've given us enough. It's crazy to go any farther.'"

Said Morris: "I made a couple of bad pitches I'd like to take back. Unfortunately, I can't."

With Morris unlikely to go on three days' rest in back-to-back starts in a possible Game 5 and his free agency looming, the possibility exists that he has pitched his last game with the Cardinals.

Naturally, he's not thinking about that now -- neither in terms of his future with the team, nor in terms of the Cards' future in this series.

"This is coming down to a five-game series, and we've got to win four of them," Morris said. "But we have an off-day and we've been able to come back from being down before. This team doesn't quit and we're not out of this yet by a long shot. We've come back all year, you've seen it happen."

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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