09/18/2003 6:53 PM ET
Woody and Cards blank Brewers
Nos. 5-7 spots in lineup drive in 10 runs
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- With a few more nights like this, it would have been a very different season for the Cardinals. Scott Rolen and late lineup addition Eduardo Perez both homered and Woody Williams pitched seven shutout innings as St. Louis cruised to a 13-0 win over Milwaukee.
St. Louis remained within five games of first-place Houston in the National League Central with eight games remaining. The Cards and Astros begin a three-game series at Busch Stadium on Friday night.
Williams reached a career high with his 16th win, ending a September slide that had seen him post a 12.86 ERA over his previous three starts. He held the Brewers to three singles, walked two and struck out six. One of the game's best hitting pitchers, he also singled and walked.
"It's just nice to win and actually pitch halfway decent," said Williams, who recorded a win and a quality start in the same game for the first time since the All-Star break. "It's been a long time since this happened, and it's nice to have a chance to turn it around.
"I'm spoiled with this defense. The last month and a half, I haven't been able to use it like I've wanted to. I've been falling behind and throwing a lot of hittable pitches. But tonight was good. It's just nice to win."
But even with Williams' offense, the big thunder came from the five, six and seven spots in the Cardinals order, as Rolen, Edgar Renteria and Perez all had big nights.
Rolen kicked off the scoring with a solo homer in the second for his 100th RBI of the year -- the third consecutive season and fourth time overall he has reached that plateau.
"You can't help to think, if I'd have had five more here in big situations, we might have been in business now," Rolen said. "You kind of look back and say, 100 RBIs, that's great, but it's great for what? It's really not great for anything."
Renteria singled twice, doubled twice and equaled a career high with five RBIs. Perez, added to the lineup at the last minute when Jim Edmonds was scratched, ripped a three-run homer and also singled and walked. Even Eli Marrero got into the act, lacing a single in the eighth as a pinch-hitter for Rolen.
All told, the fifth through seventh positions in the order combined for 10 hits, eight runs and 11 RBIs. The Cardinals scored more than one run in four different innings. They outscored the Brewers, 36-14, in winning three out of four in the series, showing life after being swept in Houston last weekend.
"We don't play to not be buried," said Rolen, "and we don't play to prove anybody wrong. We're out there every night to give ourselves an opportunity to go to the playoffs. We made it real tough on ourselves coming out of the last Houston series. But I'm not going out there to not embarrass myself."
Following Rolen's homer, Perez walked against Matt Kinney (10-12). He took third on Mike Matheny's single to right and scored on the same play as right fielder Jason Conti sailed his throw into the seats beyond third base.
Kinney worked around a leadoff double in the third and a first-and-third, none-out jam in the fourth, but in the fifth it came apart for him. Albert Pujols singled and J.D. Drew walked, both with one out, and Rolen singled to make it 3-0. After Renteria's RBI single up the middle, Perez launched a blast into left field that put the game out of reach.
Doubles by Rolen and Renteria, an error by Milwaukee shortstop Bill Hall, and a Matheny single made it 9-0 in the seventh. Marrero poked a bases-loaded single through the hole on the left side in the eighth to get St. Louis into double figures, and Renteria cleared the bases with his 45th double of the season for the final margin. The Cards shortstop has 96 RBIs on the year.
"Edgar had a great game, but Scott Rolen put on a clinic," said manager Tony La Russa. "What a huge game offensively and defensively. Edgar has been playing that way all year long -- a lot of clutch hits. But I'd like to replay the game that Rolen played. That was fun to watch on the defensive side and the offensive side."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.