Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kozma Breaks Slump, Gets Start; Notebook; Bunt Single Friday Snapped an 0-for-33 Skid for Cards Shortstop; CARDINALS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kozma Breaks Slump, Gets Start; Notebook; Bunt Single Friday Snapped an 0-for-33 Skid for Cards Shortstop; CARDINALS

Article excerpt

Pete Kozma said he didn't really feel any lighter Saturday. But, there can be little discounting the weight lifted from the Cardinals shortstop just by his beating out a bunt single as one of the team's nine straight hits in the seventh inning of their 12-8 win Friday night over Pittsburgh.

The hit was his first after 33 hitless at-bats since Aug. 11.

"Definitely, everyone was plenty aware of it," said Kozma, including himself in that group. "You've got to break it some way."

Kozma was in the Cardinals' lineup on Saturday night and went one for three with an RBI in the Redbirds' 5-0 victory. A year ago, he moved into the lineup at shortstop for the injured Rafael Furcal (who is back in the clubhouse this weekend) and starred at bat, finishing with a .333 average as the Cardinals captured a wild-card berth.

"I'm ready," Kozma said. "We've still got a month left. We'll see what happens."

Kozma has closed up his stance but a bigger adjustment has been to eliminate some mental clutter.

"I'm trying to go up there and not think about anything," he said. "Just see the ball and hit it.

"I mean, I've been doing this my whole life."

Manager Mike Matheny said he knew that Kozma getting a hit "was a big relief. I've been there. A lot of guys out here have been there, to different degrees. It's tough to weather."

Matheny recalled going nothing for 32 in a minor-league season while in the Milwaukee organization. The Brewers had urged him to switch-hit (Matheny had done so in high school) five days before the season started.

"The first pitch I hit a homer," said Matheny of an exhibition game. "So, after that they thought I would be this terrific switch hitter, eventually. It didn't pan out."

PETERSON POWER

Righthanded-hitting Brock Peterson, who led the Pacific Coast League in home runs with 25 at Memphis but had struggled as a pinch- hitter here at one for 11, got the start at first base against Pirates lefthander Jeff Locke.

"He had a great minor league season," said Matheny. "He's been able to hit some lefties and we're trying to do two things:

"One is to get Matt Adams feeling right and staying right. The lefties aren't necessarily the best way to get him into that groove. …

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