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St. Louis Cardinals (54-33) at Cincinnati Reds (47-41), 7:10 p.m.

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(Sports Network) - Matt Morris tries to win his third straight decision as the

St. Louis Cardinals begin the post All-Star break with the opener of a four-

game series in Cincinnati this evening.

The Cardinals start the second half of the season with the best record in the

National League and are seven games clear of the Chicago Cubs in the NL

Central.

The Reds are in third in the division, 7 1/2 games behind St. Louis. The Reds

are currently 1 1/2 games behind San Francisco for the wild card spot.

Morris is 2-0 over his last three starts and is coming off a victory over the

Reds on July 6 when he allowed seven hits and three runs over seven innings.

The righthander is 5-1 over his last seven outings. Morris is 5-4 in 14 games

(12 starts) in his career against the Reds.

Jesus Sanchez will get the start tonight for Cincinnati. The lefthander makes

his third start of the season. His last major league win came in 2001 when he

pitched for Florida. In his most recent appearance, last Wednesday in St.

Louis, Sanchez allowed seven hits and two runs in six innings of a no-decision.

He is 2-1 in nine games (5 starts) versus the Cardinals.

The Cardinals had their eight-game winning streak broken Sunday night in an 8-4

defeat to the Cubs at Busch Stadium. Jim Edmonds, who belted a solo homer, has

homered in five straight games for the Cardinals, tying a club single-season

record, also held by Rip Collins and Jim Bottomley. Mark McGwire homered in six

straight games, but over two seasons. Albert Pujols had two hits and drove in a

run in the loss.

On Sunday, Jason LaRue smacked a tie-breaking two-run homer in the top of the

ninth and Wily Mo Pena followed with his second of the day, helping Cincinnati

to a 9-6 win over Milwaukee in a see-saw battle at Miller Park. Pena, starting

in center field in place of the injured Ken Griffey Jr., had a career day with

his first-ever multi-homer game and a career-high four hits to go with his

three RBI.

Griffey suffered a partial tear of his right hamstring while chasing a fly ball

Saturday night and is on the 15-day disabled list.

St. Louis is 26-15 on the road, but has dropped three in a row outside Busch

Stadium.

Cincinnati is 25-15 at Great American Ball Park, but has dropped five of its

last eight at home.

The Cardinals are 5-1 versus the Reds this season with all of the meetings so

far taking place in St. Louis. The Cardinals have won 11 of the last 14

matchups.

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