By Ben Walker
The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO - Kirk Rueter has the winning touch at Busch Stadium, having improved to 6-0 lifetime there with a win in Game 1 of the NL championship series.
Rueter, who was raised across the Mississippi River rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals, hopes to duplicate that success when he starts Game 5 on Monday for San Francisco at Pacific Bell Park.
"The weather has kind of changed a little bit since the regular season, obviously. It's been a lot warmer here the past couple of weeks and the ball seems to be carrying a little more than it did during the regular season," Rueter said Sunday.
"I don't know if it will be to my advantage or disadvantage," he said. "Even though this is more of a pitcher's park, you still have to make your pitches because, I mean, this park has proven that you can give up home runs. I mean, Barry hits a lot of them here."
Despite Bonds' blasts, Pac Bell is not kind to sluggers. There were fewer home runs hit at Pac Bell than any other park in the majors.
KANNON'S INSPIRATION: A day after romping around the Cardinals dugout, 5-year-old Kannon Kile was running around the outfield before Game 4, shagging fly balls and having fun.
The boy is the son of late St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile, and has been a source of motivation to the team - and a dispenser of advice. Kannon's enthusiasm seemed to rev up Jim Edmonds, Tino Martinez and the Cardinals for their 5-4 win in Game 3.
"Before the game, he was working with Tino and Edmonds on their swings," joked pitcher Matt Morris.
"He's just an inspiration for all of us," Morris said. "Sometimes just seeing him, we want to see how he's doing and ease his pain, and he's the one that comforts us. It's amazing.
"He's like a miniature D.K. It's good to see him laughing and hanging out with the guys again. He'll high-five you, no matter if it's a strikeout or a home run."
Kannon also surprises the Cardinals.
"It's amazing some of the questions he has. They are hard for everybody to hear. He talks about his dad a lot," Morris said. "Sometimes you just don't expect it. You try to answer them honestly. I think he understands more than we think he does."
BAITING BONDS: Before the series began, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Barry Bonds would have to expand his strike zone if he wanted to get a lot of swings.
Before Game 4, he bristled at the suggestion that he had been "baiting" the Giants' slugger. He said all of the National League's best power threats get the same treatment, mentioning Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza and Lance Berkman as examples.
"I'm actually offended when I hear stuff like baiting," La Russa said. "That's an offensive word to me.
"Barry can do whatever he wants to. Sometimes if you want to participate in some situations, you've got to expand your zone."
Bonds found something he liked in Game 3, launching a three-run homer. He has four home runs and nine RBIs in 24 at-bats in this year's postseason.
MORRIS' PLAN: Matt Morris doesn't believe he let his emotions get the best of him in the series opener. Still, the St. Louis ace allowed seven runs in 4 1-3 innings, one of his shortest outings of the year, in a 9-6 loss.
"If you're not nervous, you're not human out there in these kinds of games," Morris said. "I'm going to be nervous, but nervous energy is good. It's about focusing."
In Game 1, the 17-game winner said the problem was simply a case of getting too many deliveries up in the zone. It was impossible for him to pinpoint one as the turning point.
"Some games I was able to see one pitch that if I could take back it might change the outcome of the game," Morris said. "That first game, there were too many pitches that were mistakes. There were no easy innings."
Steelers 34, Bengals 7
Bengals-Steelers game stats
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0-6 debacle not enough to cost LeBeau his job
Steelers get Bus rolling
Kitna doesn't duck the music
Bengals Week 6 report card
Secondary still believes in itself
Randle El's TD run burns special teams
A look at woe-and-6
IN THE DIVISION
Bucs 17, Browns 3
Colts 22, Ravens 20
AROUND THE NFL
Fiedler breaks thumb but leads comeback
Rams: Season's biggest flop gets biggest win
Shaun shines bright under lights
Favre, Pack win 4th straight
This week's NFL leaders
Offensive tackles for Jags, Rams leave with broken legs
Giants 4, Cardinals 3
Bonds sniffing Series
Rueter hopes to duplicate success at home
San Francisco's relievers do it again - barely
Angels 13, Twins 5
Angels blow it open with another big inning
Twins' season ends
Piniella may not return to Mariners
MU coach takes blame
OSU player arrested for disorderly conduct
Heartbreak Saturday for four noted powers
Breathless weekend rattles contenders
Luck continues for opportunistic Irish
Miami sets record at No. 1
Cyclones lose again
Blackhawks, Red Wings win
Tataurangi gets first PGA win
Johar wins Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita
McMurray shocks NASCAR with win in second start
Guidugli's injury just bruised knee
Cougars hunt state golf championship
Sunbury Big Walnut, Lima Central Catholic capture titles
High school schedules
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