CHICAGO (AP) -- As a stand-in, Glendon Rusch put on a performance
worthy of a lead role.
Filling in for injured ace Kerry Wood, Rusch pitched 7 2/3
strong innings Saturday to help the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis
Cardinals 7-1.After enduring a 1-12 season with Milwaukee a year ago, signing
with the Cubs on April 1 and spending the first month of this
season in the minors, Rusch is appreciative of any victory.
Especially in the majors."No doubt about it. That's something you don't forget about
when you are struggling so much as a starting guy to go out and get
a win," Rusch said."It's been a little bit of a long road, starting with what I
went through last year. ... I battled a long way to get here."In his second start since Wood came down with a sore triceps,
Rusch allowed a run on six hits with nine strikeouts -- including
Jim Edmonds three times.The left-hander got a big boost from the Cubs' four-run first
that included a two-run double by Derrek Lee on a fly ball that
landed in the center-field ivy. Todd Hollandsworth hit a two-run
homer in the third to put the Cubs ahead 6-1.Hollandsworth is also stepping in for another of the Cubs' stars
on the disabled list -- Sammy Sosa."I am not going to fill Sammy Sosa's shoes. That's
impossible," Hollandsworth said. "He's really gifted. I'm trying
to hold down the fort until he gets better, do my part."And that's what Rusch is doing, also, making the most of spot
starts until Wood and Mark Prior come off the DL.Rusch spent most of spring training with Texas, but when the
Rangers decided not to put him on their major league roster, he
asked for and was granted his release."As soon as this became available for me to sign here, I jumped
on it. It took about 10 minutes to think about it," he said,
adding that he's ready to go back to the bullpen once the entire
rotation is healthy.Chicago jumped on Woody Williams (1-5) right away and got Rusch
an early lead.Todd Walker, Moises Alou and Aramis Ramirez singled for the
first run. After a walk to Hollandsworth loaded the bases, Lee's
long, wind-aided fly to center went over Edmonds' head and stuck in
the ivy for a ground-rule double."The ball that Lee hits, that's an out and that ended up
costing us two runs," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "That
ball was hit so high, it's got to be caught. It stayed in the park.
I'm not sure, I think Jim got fooled by the wind."Corey Patterson hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0."It was definitely a crazy first inning," Williams said.
"They came out swinging and before I knew it they had four runs.
Pretty much that was the ballgame. It was a hole we got ourselves
into and couldn't get out."The Cardinals got a run back in the third when Patterson and
Hollandsworth collided in shallow center while chasing Edgar
Renteria's fly-ball double.Hollandsworth hit his fifth homer following Ramirez's single in
the bottom of the inning.Williams unraveled in the sixth, committing two errors. His wild
pickoff attempt to first allowed Patterson to reach second, then
the right-hander threw wildly past first after fielding Ramon
Martinez's bunt, allowing Patterson to score.Williams gave up seven runs and eight hits in five-plus innings.After Rusch departed, Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins
finished the six-hitter.
Williams is 2-6 against the Cubs in his career, including
1-5 at Wrigley Field. ... Rusch's outing was his longest since May
15, 2003, when he went eight innings for the Brewers against the
Cubs at Wrigley Field. He lost 2-1. ... Todd Walker, the toughest
player in the AL to strike out last season when he fanned just 54
times in 647 plate appearances for the Red Sox, whiffed three
times. ... The Cubs put Kent Mercker on the disabled list with a
sore back and activated left-hander Mike Remlinger, who'd been out
all season while recovering from shoulder surgery. Mercker is the
eighth Cubs player to go on the DL since spring training and the
third this week, joining Wood and Sosa.