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Kile Gets No. 17 In Cards Win

It took Montreal Expos manager Felipe Alou exactly one hitter to realize his team was in trouble.

Darryl Kile served up a steady diet of curveballs, his big pitch, in the St. Louis Cardinals' 6-1 victory Thursday. For the third straight game he was in total command, allowing five hits and striking out 10 in seven innings.

"Right away I knew were in for a tough day with our young guys swinging at his stuff," Alou said.

Kile (17-9) allowed one walk, his first in the last three starts, and tied Arizona's Randy Johnson for second in victories in the NL. Atlanta's Tom Glavine has 19.

"It's so much fun to watch him pitch," manager Tony La Russa said. "He is concentrating fiercely and competing fiercely, and he's got good stuff. You watch the same guy go up there three at-bats and he goes after them different ways."

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  • Kile, who was 8-13 with a 6.61 ERA in Colorado last year, has four starts remaining and has a shot at 20. But Kile, who won 19 games for the Astros in 1997, said he's not thinking about that.

    "You know, right now the only thing I'm thinking about is what I've got to do to pitch against the Pirates," Kile said, referring to his next start on Tuesday. "You can't change what happened today, good or bad, and you've got to get ready for the next one."

    Kile struck out Wilton Guerrero all three times he faced him and finished his stint with a flourish, dropping to sidearm to fan Peter Bergeron to end the seventh. Kile's only trouble came in the fourth when he left the bases loaded.

    Jim Edmonds hit a two-run home run off Tony Armas (4-8) in the first and a sacrifice fly to the right-field wall in the fifth. Edmonds, who has 39 homers and 95 RBIs, also flied out to the center field wall in the fourth.

    "I almost get three every day," Edmonds said. "Wrong time of the year. Wind's blowing in."

    Will Clark also homered in the fourth and Mike Matheny had an RBI single in the sixth for the Cardinals, who have won seven of eight. Kile singled for his eighth hit of the year and scored on Matheny's hit.

    The NL Central leaders took three of four from the Expos for their eighth straight series victory.

    "You look at what they had last year, what they have playing now and what they have available on that bench that's a deep operation," Alou said. "No wonder they are where they are in the standings."

    Armas, who was on the disabled list 51 days with a strained right rotator cuff, made his first start since July 14. He lasted 4 1-3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits, and lost his third straight decision.

    The Expos had to change their lineup just before gametime after second baseman Jose Vidro was scratched with a sprained left elbow. Vidro, second in the NL with 177 hits, will have an MRI on Friday.

    Alou juggled three slots as a result of Vidro's injury, and had to make a fourth change when Milton Bradley strained his left oblique muscle on a pop-up to lead off the game, inserting Bergeron.

    Andy Tracy, who was not in the lineup originally, was 3-for-4 and scored the Expos' only run on Geoff Blum's double in the sixth.

    "It was kind of weird how everything transpired," Tracy said. "But that's been my role lately, coming off the bench and filling in. It's a good role for me."

    Placido Polanco's RBI single put the Cardinals ahead 6-1 in the eighth. Polanco was later doubled off first to end the inning because he failed to retouch second on J.D. Drew's fly ball to center.

    St. Louis' Matt Morris struck out fur, pitching two hitless innings to close the game.

    Notes

  • Cardinals second baseman Fernando Vina sat out the four-game series with bruised ribs and likely will miss the team's upcoming three-game series in Milwaukee.
  • Vladimir Guerrero twice was robbed of a hit, by left-fielder Drew's running catch at the warning track to end the first, and by a diving stab by third baseman Fernando Tatis in the sixth.
  • The Expos are 57-80, the same record they had at this stage last year.
  • The Cardinals are 20-9 when Clark starts at first base. He's 20-for-45 the last 14 games.

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