Series: Game 3 of 3

St. Louis won 3-0

Game 1: Monday, May 13
Chicago 0Final
St. Louis 3
Game 2: Tuesday, May 14
Chicago 2Final
St. Louis 11
Game 3: Wednesday, May 15
Chicago 1Final
St. Louis 4

Cubs 1

(13-25, 7-11 away)

Cardinals 4

(20-20, 11-7 home)

    8:10 PM ET, May 15, 2002

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    CHC 010000000 1 - -
    STL 00000121 - 4 - -

    W: G. Stechschulte (5-1)

    L: J. Bere (1-6)

    S: J. Isringhausen (9)

    Williams stellar in return to Cards' rotation

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- After nearly six weeks on the disabled list and no rehab starts, Woody Williams didn't miss a thing.

    Woody Williams

    Williams allowed an unearned run in six innings as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 for a three-game sweep Wednesday night. He didn't mind that the Cardinals rallied after he left the game.

    "It's amazing," Williams said. "It's definitely more than I thought was going to happen. I'm just glad I could keep the team in the game as long as I did. I felt real strong."

    Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo's RBI triple off right fielder Sammy Sosa's glove drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh. The Cubs lost their seventh in a row.

    Williams' outing came a day after another starter, Garrett Stephenson, was activated from the DL and allowed one run in four innings in an 11-2 victory. Manager Tony La Russa said before the game that just having both pitchers come out of their outings healthy was like having a pair of wins.

    "Like yesterday, Garrett's healthy, it's like we won a doubleheader," La Russa said. "Same thing today. I just checked with Woody, extensively, and he said he feels great."

    So did Stephenson.

    "I'm ready to go Sunday, already," he said.

    Williams, a 15-game winner last year, lasted only two innings in his season debut April 5 at Houston before leaving with a strained muscle in his left side. He returned to the rotation after impressing the team in a 60-pitch simulated game on Sunday in Cincinnati.

    "The other day in Cincinnati, that's how he looked," La Russa said. "We had good hitters up there to test him and he kept working them over, so I said 'We'll see you Wednesday."'

    Williams said he was better in his start than on Sunday.

    "My control and command was better than it was in the simulated game," he said.

    Gene Stechschulte (5-1) struck out one in a perfect seventh and Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his ninth save in 10 chances.

    The Cardinals have won four in a row and six of seven and climbed to .500 for the first time since April 27, when they were 12-12. But La Russa wouldn't say the team had turned the corner.

    "Absolutely not," he said. "That would be the dumbest thing our team could think or feel or the manager could say. We're a .500 club. I think we have the luxury of saying we were in the hole and we played ourselves to even."

    Jason Bere (1-6) allowed three runs in six-plus innings. The Cubs' slump is their longest since they dropped eight straight last May 10-18, and they fell a season-worst 12 games below .500 at 13-25.

    "We can't just go out there and take the field and expect everything will fall into place," Bere said. "This was a tough loss, but we've had a lot of tough losses."

    The Cubs have been outscored 49-17 during their losing streak.

    "Every pitcher who throws against us is like an All-Star," manager Don Baylor said. "It seems like it's that way every single night."

    Cairo, who is 6-for-15 as a pinch-hitter with four RBI, tripled to the opposite field just off Sosa's glove in the right-field corner to break a 1-1 tie. The hit easily scored Eli Marrero, who singled to start the inning.

    Fernando Vina followed with an RBI single off Jeff Fassero for a two-run lead and Jim Edmonds hit his ninth homer in the eighth, a drive to straightaway center estimated at 422 feet, to make it 4-1.

    The Cubs got a gift run in the second after Fred McGriff singled. He stole second, went to third when Eli Marrero bounced the throw, and scored when Edmonds' throw from center field to third ended up in the Chicago dugout.

    Game notes

    Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, in St. Louis to promote National Transportation Week, threw out the first pitch. He scattered people standing near the plate with a wild throw up the third-base line. ... Edmonds and Vina received Gold Gloves before the game. Edmonds has three errors this season after committing six all last year. Edmonds also had a running, leaping catch at the warning track to rob Moises Alou of extra bases in the fourth. ... Vina stole his 100th career base in the third. ... The Cardinals optioned LHP Bud Smith to Triple-A Memphis to make room for Williams on the roster. ... Cardinals LHP Steve Kline, on the disabled list with a triceps injury, threw in the bullpen and afterward complained of tendinitis in his left knee. He will undergo an MRI on Thursday, an off-day. Kline was so sore after the game that fellow reliever Mike Crudale had to help Kline pull on his jeans.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press