Series: Game 1 of 3

St. Louis leads 1-0 (as of 4/18)

Game 1: Friday, April 18
St. Louis6
Game 2: Saturday, April 19
St. Louis3
Game 3: Sunday, April 20
St. Louis0

Diamondbacks 3

(5-12, 1-6 away)

Cardinals 6

(9-6, 4-2 home)

    8:10 PM ET, April 18, 2003

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

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    ARI 000000003 3 7 0
    STL 03110010 - 6 10 0

    W: W. Williams (3-0)

    L: E. Dessens (1-2)

    Williams extends scoreless streak to 19 2/3 innings

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- So far, Woody Williams is untouchable.

     Woody Williams

    Williams pitched seven shutout innings to extend his scoreless streak this season to 19 2/3 innings as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-3 Friday night for their fifth victory in six games.

    "It's a nice streak I'm on, but it can't last forever," Williams said. "The bottom line is I try to go out there every inning and put up a zero, and right now it's working."

    Edgar Renteria homered and doubled and Tino Martinez had two hits, a walk and an RBI for St. Louis in the first meeting against Arizona since the Cardinals swept the Diamondbacks in the first round of the playoffs.

    The Cardinals, who entered the game with an NL-leading .309 average, had five doubles despite missing Albert Pujols, who has a sprained right elbow and could be limited to pinch hit duties for three weeks.

    "Pujols is a big loss, but we have to keep playing like we're playing," Renteria said. "We have to push a little more."

    Williams (3-0) didn't allow a baserunner until he hit David Delluci to start the fifth and didn't allow a hit until Lyle Overbay's broken-bat single to the opposite field with one out in the fifth. He struck out five and walked none and has not allowed a run in three starts this season.

    Williams is 19-5 since the Cardinals acquired him from the Padres in August 2001 and has allowed three or fewer runs in 26 of his last 27 regular-season starts. During that span, he has a 1.86 ERA.

    "I think if he ever comes out there in a Cardinal uniform and doesn't have real good stuff and real good location, we're all going to pass out," manager Tony La Russa said. "We're getting so used to him doing exactly that.

    "That is a dangerous lineup and he made great pitches when he had to, and he's been doing it every time."

    The NL West champion Diamondbacks avoided their third shutout of the season when Steve Finley hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Arizona (5-12) had been coming off consecutive victories for the first time of the season.

    Manager Bob Brenly bemoaned his team's tough luck against the Cardinals.

    "We've got to get some of those compasses they have on their bats," Brenly said. "I never saw so many balls find gaps in my life.

    "It seemed like everything they hit in the first couple of innings was either in a gap or down the line."

    Diamondbacks starter Elmer Dessens (1-2) allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings. He has won only once in his last 12 starts, going 0-5 during that stretch, although he beat the Brewers on April 13.

    "I was getting everything up," Dessens said. "That's not good."

    Eli Marrero and Mike Matheny hit consecutive RBI doubles and Fernando Vina had a run-scoring single in the second.

    Back-to-back doubles by Renteria and Martinez made it 4-0 in the third, Jim Edmonds had an RBI double in the fourth and Renteria hit his fourth homer in the seventh off Stephen Randolph.

    Game notes
    Jason Isringhausen met with team physician George A. Paletta Jr. Friday, and was advised to continue "minor" throwing drills. He is still experiencing discomfort in his right shoulder (still no structural damage), and is not expected to come off the DL before the end of the month. In the meantime, he will continue to throw cautiously on the side. ... Pujols walked as a pinch hitter in the eighth. ... Lyle Overbay singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, tied for the longest by a Diamondbacks rookie with Travis Lee (1998). ... The Diamondbacks used their 16th starting lineup in 17 games. Dellucci, who has 24 home runs in five season, batted cleanup for the second straight game. ... LHP Rick Ankiel won his first game for Double-A Tennessee on Thursday night, allowing no hits in 1 2-3 innings with one strikeout and one walk. ... Cardinals pitchers are batting .343 (12-for-35) with three walks and only six strikeouts, including a single by Williams in the second.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press