06/26/2002 00:12 am ET
Grieving Cards no match for Rusch
By Jared Hoffman / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- On a difficult night for baseball at Busch Stadium, Glendon Rusch was able to make things a little easier for his ball club by outdueling Matt Morris to beat the first-place Cardinals, 2-0 and get his first shutout in over four years.
Tuesday's game was the first in St. Louis since Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile was found dead in his Chicago hotel room Saturday during a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Before Tuesday's game, the Cardinals held a brief pregame ceremony to honor Kile that included a moment of silence and a video tribute.
"It was a difficult night with the ceremony and understanding what everybody over there is going through," said Rusch. "I was somewhat relaxed out there tonight and knowing that you're going to go up against Morris, you're not going to squeeze out too many runs so it was nice to keep a zero up there."
Rusch gave up a pair of two-out singles in the second inning but then retired the next 13 hitters before J.D. Drew singled to lead off the seventh. Drew also got a two-out infield single in the ninth for the St. Louis's fourth and final hit.
Rusch's last shutout came two teams ago as a member of the Royals when he shutout Detroit 2-0 on June 14, 1998 at Kauffman Stadium.
It was Rusch's third complete game of the season -- the most by a Brewers pitcher since the team switched to National League in 1998. Rusch's previous complete game efforts this season came in April and their was little evidence and third would be forth coming on Tuesday.
Rusch had pitched less than seven innings in each of his past six starts. After a strong April, Rusch went 2-3 with an 8.13 ERA in May and was 1-0 with a 5.01 this month prior to Tuesday's start.
Against the Cardinals, Rusch was fairly economical, throwing 122 pitches (82 for strikes). He faced the minimum in five innings, never allowed a runner to reach third and allowed only one runner to reach second.
"There was a definite noticeable difference in his stuff and the way he pitched tonight," said Royster. "His ball was down and it hasn't been down in along time. He was inside, and he hasn't pitched inside in a long, long time. He was both in and out. He was down but up when he needed to and threw his breaking ball only when he needed to."
"He was outstanding -- Glendon can do that. He can pitch like that. He has not done it in awhile."
The Brewers could use more of that. Milwaukee entered Tuesday's action last in the NL in ERA (4.72). The lack of a stopper is one of the reason the Brewers have already endured losing streaks of four or more games seven times.
"Hopefully, (Rusch) can get on a roll," said Royster. "We really, really need him badly. From the time we traded for him, we've been counting on him."
The combination of an off day Monday and Rusch's shutout give the Brewers bullpen a nice breather.
"I feel like every time I go out there that I want to try and get deep into the ballgame," said Rusch. "All of us guys are young on this pitching staff so anytime we can do that then sometimes the other guys feed off of that and we give out bullpen a break. They deserve it. They've been overworked all year."
One of the chief reasons for Rusch's success Tuesday was his ability to pitch inside -- something he has always known he needs to do.
"I have to be inside there to be successful and when I'm out over the middle of the plate -- when I'm coming there -- I get hurt a lot and that something I have to cut down," said Rusch. "Any time I go inside I need to make sure it is inside. I don't have overpowering stuff to get (my fastball) by people if I leave it out over the plate so it has to be on the corners."
Rusch's shutout wasn't accompanied by the revelry or loud music that accompanies victories in Major League locker rooms, but rather was replaced by quiet conversation.
"My heart goes out to DK's family," said Rusch. "It's a very tough situation, and I understand how much a lot of people are hurting."
Jared Hoffman is an editorial producer for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.