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Tuesday, July 8, 2003



[ MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ]



art
ASSOCIATED PRESS
San Francisco's Jerome Williams got his fourth straight win vs. St. Louis yesterday. He also doubled for his first big-league hit, starting a rally that produced two runs.



Williams shuts down
Cards, Pujols again

The Waipahu alum gets his
fourth straight win with his
second career complete game


SAN FRANCISCO >> Last week in St. Louis, rookie Jerome Williams begged his teammates to share any secrets on how to shut down Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.

San Francisco pitching coach Dave Righetti made it simple: "Challenge him."

Williams pitched his second complete game of the year in his eighth major league start, stumping Pujols and the rest of the St. Louis lineup and leading the Giants to a 5-1 victory last night.

The right-hander (4-1) won his fourth straight, allowing seven hits, striking out four, walking one and throwing 127 pitches. Williams' last two victories have come against the Cardinals -- and he has held Pujols hitless in seven at-bats in those two games.

"When I came into St. Louis, he had a .380-something average," Williams said. "I said, 'I'm going to face this guy,' and I was asking everybody in the clubhouse, 'What should I do?' "

He seems to have it figured out just fine, and some early run support didn't hurt.

Barry Bonds hit his 639th career home run an estimated 471 feet, and Marquis Grissom homered and drove in three runs.

Grissom hit a two-run homer with one out in the first off Garrett Stephenson (4-9), and Bonds connected one batter later, sending the ball high over the main concession stand in center field. It was the third time this season the Giants hit back-to-back homers.

Bonds' solo shot -- his 26th homer of the year -- was the second-longest homer he's hit at 4-year-old Pacific Bell Park. The slugger hit one an estimated 491 feet last Sept. 9 against the Dodgers' Odalis Perez.

The 21-year-old Williams retired eight of the first 10 batters he faced. He also got an added bonus when he doubled in the seventh for his first major league hit.

Williams scored on Grissom's RBI infield single, and Bonds hit a sacrifice fly to bring in another run in the inning.

Williams has done something remarkable for a rookie. He has beaten the Cards in back-to-back starts after doing the same to Oakland. Furthermore, he has pitched better in the second meeting against each team with a pair of complete games.

Big-league hitters are supposed to adjust, and Williams simply won't let them, although he isn't really thinking that way. Confessing that he's a bit "shocked" by what he's doing, Williams said, "I didn't see very much adjusting on my part or their part. They know what I had and I know what they had, and we just went from there."

Williams impressed NL batting leader Pujols.

"He has a good idea what he's doing," Pujols said. "He's only 21, but he doesn't pitch like he's 21. He's pitched well against us twice."

This time, Williams fired 127 pitches, a scary-high total for a pitcher that inexperienced. Giants manager Felipe Alou defended the long outing as a necessity.

"We have a number of relievers here getting deep with more appearances," he said. "We have to get more careful with them. Jerome has a nice, smooth delivery. I believe on any given day he can throw 120 to 130 pitches, but not every time out like a more mature arm, like Jason Schmidt."

Alou was ejected in the fourth -- the first time the 68-year-old skipper has been tossed this season.

Alou sprinted from the dugout to second base after Jose Cruz Jr. was called out trying to steal. Alou hollered at second-base umpire Jim Reynolds, who then threw him out.

Cruz made a head-first slide into second and was ruled out on a close call when second baseman Bo Hart made a low tag on Cruz's arm. Alou received a standing ovation as he ran off the field.

Cruz was caught stealing again in the eighth on a similar play.

"That's the first time I've seen the Giants play live on television. They looked good," Alou said with a smile. "Jerome Williams looked good. ... Managers get thrown out. I got thrown out three times in one week in the big leagues. There are blown calls. We are in a pennant race. We consider every call life and death."

Aside from two hits each by Chris Widger and Edgar Renteria, the Cardinals lacked any consistent offense in their first game in San Francisco since losing to the Giants in the NL Championship Series last October.

When asked about Williams' pitching, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said: "They can talk about him. They know about him better than we do."

For Williams, all this success hasn't quite sunk in. He was supposed make a spot start in place of the injured Kurt Ainsworth and then head back to Triple-A Fresno. That was more than a month ago.

"I go home and sit down thinking, 'Hey, that's me. I actually throw like that,' " he said of watching his highlights on TV.

San Francisco is 5-3 in Williams' eight starts, and two of the losses have been by two or fewer runs.

Jim Edmonds hit an RBI single in the third to score Widger, who hit a leadoff double off Williams for the Cardinals' first hit. The run broke a streak of 14 2/3 scoreless innings at home by Williams.

Stephenson allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, striking out five and walking three to lose his fourth straight start. The four consecutive losses matches a career-high.

He also gave up a homer to Bonds last week.


The San Francisco Chronicle contributed to this report.

Giants 5, Cardinals 1

St. Louis AB R H BI BB SO Avg.
Hart 2b 4 0 0 0 0 1 .370
Edmonds cf 3 0 1 1 1 1 .304
Pujols lf 4 0 0 0 0 0 .370
TMartinez 1b 4 0 1 0 0 0 .288
Rolen 3b 4 0 0 0 0 1 .281
Renteria ss 4 0 2 0 0 1 .330
OPalmeiro rf 4 0 1 0 0 0 .280
Widger c 3 1 2 0 0 0 .167
Stephenson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .194
a-Robinson ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .205
Painter p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Yan p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Totals 31 1 7 1 1 4
San Francisco AB R H BI BB SO Avg.
Durham 2b 4 1 1 0 0 0 .306
Snow 1b 2 1 0 0 2 1 .275
Grissom cf 4 1 2 3 0 1 .304
Bonds lf 3 1 2 2 0 0 .308
Aurilia ss 4 0 1 0 0 0 .261
JoCruz rf 2 0 2 0 2 0 .264
Feliz 3b 4 0 0 0 0 1 .237
Torrealba c 4 0 1 0 0 1 .271
JeWilliams p 3 1 1 0 0 2 .083
Totals 30 5 10 5 4 6

St. Louis 001 000 000 -- 1 7 0
San Francisco 300 000 20x -- 5 10 0

a-flied out for Stephenson in the 7th.
LOB--St. Louis 6, San Francisco 6. 2B--Widger (2), JoCruz (16), Torrealba (8), JeWilliams (1). HR--Bonds (26), off Stephenson; Grissom (12), off Stephenson. RBIs--Edmonds (65), Grissom 3 (43), Bonds 2 (54). SB--Renteria (21). CS--JoCruz 2 (6). S--Stephenson. SF--Bonds. GIDP--Widger, Feliz.
Runners left in scoring position--St. Louis 2 (OPalmeiro 2); San Francisco 4 (Snow, Aurilia, Feliz 2).
Runners moved up--Durham.
DP--St. Louis 1 (Renteria, Hart and TMartinez); San Francisco 2 (Aurilia), (Aurilia, Durham and Snow).

St. Louis IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA
Stephenson L, 4-9 6 6 3 3 3 5 97 4.30
Painter 1/3 2 2 2 1 0 18 5.84
Yan 1 2/3 2 0 0 0 1 23 6.53
San Francisco IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA
JeWilliams W, 4-1 9 7 1 1 1 4 127 2.94

Inherited runners-scored--Yan 3-2.
HBP--by JeWilliams (Stephenson).
Umpires--Home, Laz Diaz; First, Jim Joyce; Second, Jim Reynolds; Third, Brian Knight.
T--2:33. A--42,674 (41,503).



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