Giants defeat Cardinals for third straight game

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- So far, the National League Championship Series
rematch has been no contest.

Barry Bonds homered twice and scored three times, leading rookie
Jerome Williams and the San Francisco Giants over the St. Louis
Cardinals 4-1 Wednesday night.

The NL West-leading Giants, who needed five games to defeat the
Cardinals in the NLCS, have won three straight in a series that
ends Thursday. The Cardinals lead the NL in hitting, but have been
held to exactly one run for three games in a row.

"As long as the game's been played, if you pitch well you stop
the hitting," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "That's why
people try to get good pitching, because that's the most consistent
part of the game. That, and defense."

Bonds has 637 career home runs, 23 behind Willie Mays for third
on the lifetime list. Bonds had his 63rd multihomer game, moving
past Hank Aaron and matching Mays for third place.

Bonds hit his 460th homer for the Giants on a low liner to right
leading off the fourth against Garrett Stephenson, passing Mays for
second since the franchise moved to San Francisco and pulling eight
behind Willie McCovey for first overall.

"I can't complain about it," Stephenson said. "I thought he
was out front a little bit at least, and he still hit a line drive
that hit the back wall of the bullpen."

Bonds didn't have much to say after the game because he's upset
about critical comments he made about Pujols last week. Bonds, in
an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, said that Pujols was
not the next Bonds because he doesn't have good speed and hasn't
settled on one position.

"I didn't like being misquoted on the Albert Pujols
situation," Bonds said. "That's all I have to say."

Bonds hit his 24th homer of the season off Jason Isringhausen
leading off the ninth. The homer was the first allowed by
Isringhausen since Aug. 22, 2001, a stretch of 81 games and 88 2-3
innings. Bonds was 0-for-11 lifetime against Isringhausen before
the homer.

"I threw a fastball up and away to try and set up the
curveball," Isringhausen said. "It didn't work."

Williams (3-1) has won his last three starts, the first two in
interleague play, including a seven-hit shutout of Oakland in his
last start on June 27. He had thrown 15 consecutive scoreless
innings before the Cardinals scored in the seventh on two hits, a
walk and Mike Matheny's double-play ball to cut the gap to 3-1.

Williams allowed four hits and struck out seven in six-plus

"He did it again," manager Felipe Alou said. "He settled down
after the first-inning jitters and threw some big, big corner

Tim Worrell got the last three outs for his 18th save in 22

Stephenson (4-8) worked seven innings and gave up three runs on
only two hits in his second straight hard-luck loss. In his last
two starts, he's given up five earned runs on six hits in 14

"This game's my fault," Stephenson said. "My job is to go out
there and keep the game close and win games, and I'm not winning

The Giants took the lead in the second on walks to Bonds, Jose
Cruz Jr. and Pedro Feliz and a sacrifice fly by Edgardo Alfonzo.

Bonds homered on a 1-2 pitch from Stephenson leading off the
fourth and the Giants made it 3-0 in the seventh on a leadoff
double by Benito Santiago, a groundout and a sacrifice fly by

Pujols is 1-for-12 in the series and snapped an overall 0-for-13
slump -- his worst of the season by three at-bats -- with a single in
the eighth. His major league-leading average dipped to .379.

Game notes
Santiago is 13-for-39 (.333) during an 11-game hitting
streak with a home run, two doubles and five RBI. ... After his
single in the second Tino Martinez had four straight hits, dating
to Tuesday, before taking a called third strike for the last out in
the fourth. ... Bo Hart ended an 0-for-13 slump with an infield hit
in the fifth. ... The Giants are an NL-best 26-17 on the road. ...
The Cardinals have scored eight or more runs in their last 15
victories and four or fewer in their last 17 losses. ... The Giants
planned to activate 1B J.T. Snow from the DL and will option
outfielder Carlos Valderrama to Triple-A Fresno.