ST. LOUIS — Fortified by a cortisone shot to his ailing neck, Larry Walker returned to the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup Wednesday night and hit two-run home runs his first two times up in a 11-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Matt Morris worked seven sharp innings, rebounding from his only loss of the year after an 8-0 start, to help the Cardinals win for the fourth time in five games. The NL Central leaders, who also got homers from Reggie Sanders and Jim Edmonds, are 21-8 against the Reds since the start of 2004.
Cincinnati’s Wily Mo Pena hit a home run estimated at 492 feet, the 10th-longest at Busch Stadium since measuring began in 1988 and the longest by an opponent. Of the nine longest long balls, Mark McGwire hit seven and J.D. Drew two.
The Reds have lost four straight after winning their first three under interim manager Jerry Narron. They’ve dropped 16 of 18 on the road.
Shortstop Felipe Lopez committed two errors in the Cardinals’ four-run second, contributing to two unearned runs. In a span of three batters, Lopez had a wild throw to first on Scott Rolen’s grounder and flipped wide of second base on a would-be forceout on Yadier Molina’s grounder, giving him seven errors in 63 games.
Walker, a former NL MVP and three-time batting champion, had missed the previous five starts with a herniated disc in his neck that has bothered him much of the year. He had the 30th multi home run game of his career and second this season, with both home runs coming off Ramon Ortiz (3-6). Walker had no plays in right field before leaving for a pinch hitter in the seventh.
Morris (9-1) gave up two runs and five hits. He had lasted a season-low three innings in his previous start, against the Pirates.
Morris has made 17 career appearances against the Reds, all but two at home. The only scoring off him was Pena’s 10th homer, a two-run drive off the center-field backdrop in the second.