10/15/2002 01:26 am ET
Morris' final effort falls short
Cards' starter allowed two runs in 8 2/3 innings
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Music was blaring. Champagne was being sprayed in every direction. There were hugs and high-fives and congratulations all around. Everywhere you looked in the Giants clubhouse Monday night players were celebrating and partying after clinching the National League pennant.
Everywhere, that is, except over in a relatively quiet corner of the clubhouse, where San Francisco's Shawon Dunston had tears running down his face. When a reporter asked about his tears of joy, Dunston admitted he was happy, but added he was also a little sad.
"I know (the St. Louis Cardinals) wanted to win bad so they could go to the World Series for Darryl (Kile), I know Matt Morris, he's one of my best friends, wanted so bad to win for (the late) Darryl Kile," Dunston said. "Well, Darryl Kile is still going to the World Series, because I'm going, and he'll be there with me.
"I have friends over there in that (St. Louis) clubhouse. I feel for them. I feel for (Cardinals manager Tony La Russa) who gave me a chance when no one else wanted me. He was the only one who thought I could still play and he gave me a chance, and I'll never forget him for that."
Dunston, who played for the Cardinals during 1999 and 2000 before signing with San Francisco last year, perhaps felt even stronger for his good friend Morris, who took the loss despite allowing only seven hits and two runs in 8 2/3 innings.
Morris was outstanding, retiring the first nine hitters in a row and keeping the Giants off the scoreboard until the eighth inning.
"Matt Morris is a gamer, let me tell you," Dunston said. "He was lights out, as tough as ever. I knew we would see a different Matt Morris than the guy we saw in the first game, and we did. I feel for him, because he pitched an incredible game."
"That guy was pitching outstanding, that guy pitched the game of his life," Giants catcher Benito Santiago said.
Morris held the middle of the Giant order -- Jeff Kent, Barry Bonds, Santiago, Tom Goodwin and J.T. Snow -- to a combined 0-for-16 with one RBI.
"I hit the ball hard off of him, I had two line drives and then a pop fly," Bonds said. "It's nothing to be ashamed of, he pitched well, he threw really hard and he hit his spots and you've got to tip your hat to a pitcher that's doing that."
The St. Louis offense didn't give Morris much support. The Cardinals continued a series-long trend of poor hitting in the clutch. Cardinal batters stranded 10 baserunners and were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. For the series St. Louis hit .077 (3-for-39) with runners in scoring position.
When Kenny Lofton's two-out single in the ninth inning plated the winning run, Morris took the loss though he was on the bench when the Giant center fielder delivered his pennant-winning hit.
"I tip my hat to him, he's been a pest all series, for me especially, he did everything a leadoff hitter needs to do," Morris said. "(He) battled and hit balls he was supposed to hit."
Morris didn't take much solace in the fact he pitched an outstanding game.
"It doesn't matter now," Morris said. "It's not who does well or who gives it up or anything like that. It's about winning and we came up short."
"This wasn't our goal, I don't think anybody in this clubhouse is happy. We don't want to be going home right now."
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article was not sujbect to approval by Major League Baseball.