ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals' rebuilt bullpen passed
its first test.
Five relievers combined to allow just one run in six innings,
and the Cardinals rallied for a 9-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers
on Wednesday night.
"The bullpen is strong, there's no doubt about it," starter
Woody Williams said after throwing 82 pitches in three innings.
"We've got a lot of guys with experience and they know how to get
In the offseason, the Cardinals added Julian Tavarez, Ray King
and Mike Lincoln to a bullpen that blew a major league-high 30 save
opportunities last year, failing early while closer Jason
Isringhausen was recovering from shoulder surgery. Tavarez and
Lincoln, along with holdover Cal Eldred, played key roles
The Cardinals also overcame some shoddy defense to beat a
Brewers team that nicked them for 15 runs the first two games.
Scott Rolen capped a five-run rally in the seventh inning with a
three-run homer. Rolen and Jim Edmonds each hit their first homers
of the season for the Cardinals, who stumbled out of the gate
against a team that went 68-94 last year.
"Nobody was panicking, obviously," Rolen said. "But it's nice
to start tallying wins instead of tallying losses."
Wes Helms had three hits with two RBI for the Brewers, who
missed a chance to start the season 3-0 for only the sixth time in
franchise history. They last did it in 1995.
The Cardinals got five runs on five hits in the seventh off
Adrian Hernandez (0-1), making his season debut after making the
team as a non-roster invitee. Albert Pujols' sacrifice fly tied it
at 4 and Edmonds gave St. Louis the lead with a sharply hit ball
that second baseman Junior Spivey knocked down in the shallow
infield but could not stop.
Rolen followed Edmonds' hit with his home run on a full-count
"I know he's waiting for something to hit and I threw the
curveball out over the plate," Hernandez said. "It was real easy
for him to hit the ball and that's what he did."
Williams totaled only five innings in spring training due to
shoulder tendinitis, and the rust showed as he allowed three runs --
two earned -- on six hits. He struggled with his command, going to a
full count against five of the first six batters and throwing 33
pitches in the Brewers' two-run second.
"That second inning seemed like it lasted three years,"
Williams said. "I wasn't counting, I wasn't drawing a line in the
sand, but I'm pretty much aware of what it is."
Matt Kinney allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings for
the Brewers, leaving with a 4-3 lead. He was more impressive at the
plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI single to double his career hit
Entering the game, Kinney had been 2-for-57 (.035). He also had
a much-improved showing against the Cardinals, against whom he was
0-4 with a 10.13 ERA last year.
Lincoln (1-0), the third St. Louis pitcher, allowed one walk in
1 1-3 hitless innings.
Helms had a two-run single off Williams in the third for a 3-1
lead and Helms doubled and scored on Gary Bennett's two-out single
in the sixth to make it 4-2.
The Cardinals also scored on Pujols' double-play ball in the
first, Pujols doubled and scored on Scott Rolen's grounder in the
third, Edmonds homered leading off the sixth and pinch-hitter So
Taguchi doubled in a run in the eighth.
St. Louis struggled defensively from the first play of the game.
Scott Posednik got an infield hit when Pujols was indecisive at
first base after gloving his slow roller. Shortstop Edgar Renteria
botched a grounder to help the Brewers score an unearned run in the
second, and outfielders Reggie Sanders and Edmonds both made poor
Williams was 3-0 with an 0.44 ERA last year against the
Brewers. His longest spring training outing was two innings, on two
occasions. ... The Cardinals last started the season 0-3 when they
were swept at Colorado in 2001. They haven't lost three straight
home games to open the season since 1969. ... NASCAR driver Kenny
Wallace, a St. Louis native, threw out the first pitch.