Rewind: Giants vs. Cardinals, Game #3

In a game featuring two pitchers reaching for 100 career wins, it was Woody Williams who achieved the century plateau first as he outdueled Jason Schmidt. Williams had help from his offense and bullpen as his Cardinals took the rubber game of the three-game series over the Giants, 6-1, on Sunday night at the jewel on 24 Willie Mays Plaza.

A day after fellow teammate Kirk Rueter won his 100th game as a Giant, Schmidt (13-4) tried for triple-digit wins himself, pitching masterfully over seven innings, striking out 10 batters, while allowing only two runs on six hits.

Schmidt's lone mistake came in the top of the first inning when Scott Rolen hit a monstrous shot over the center field wall on the first pitch he saw, which traveled an estimated 465 feet. The ball landed on the roof of the concession stand in front of the scoreboard in center to give the Cards an early 2-0 lead.

"It was just two bad pitches," Schmidt said. "Those are the two I want back. I got burned on them. I was overthrowing. It was just bad timing on my part."

The hometown Giants (57-50) answered in the bottom of the second inning on a Ray Durham single to left with two outs to score Neifi Perez from third base to make it 2-1.

Williams (8-6), one of the Redbirds many reclamation projects, matched Schmidt pitch-for-pitch as he went six and one third innings, giving up only one run on five hits. He retired the final 12 batters he faced in succession, giving way to a remarkable job by the bullpen. The Redbirds ‘pen picked up where Williams left off as they got 20 straight San Francisco outs to end the game.

"I never thought I'd be around long enough to win 100 games with the way things started out and where I've come from," Williams said. "For this to come against probably the best pitcher in the game, it's pretty special."

The Cardinals (67-37) added two insurance runs in the eighth inning off a variety of relievers, one of which made his major league debut. Giants' prize rookie Merkin Valdez made his first-ever big league appearance to open the eighth as he was greeted by Albert Pujols.

Valdez instantly hit 97 mph on the radar gun, but allowed an opposite-field double to Pujols. It wasn't so much a bad pitch by Valdez as it was great hitting by the perennial MVP candidate. Valdez then retired Rolen on a flyball to right field and was replaced by Scott Eyre.

Eyre threw three straight curveballs to Jim Edmonds when the centerfielder finally raked one up the middle to score Pujols which made the score 3-1. Tyler Walker replaced Eyre and allowed another run to score in the inning on a two-out single by Mike Matheny to score Edmonds, extending the Cardinals lead to 4-1.

The slumping Giants bullpen allowed another two insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning as Kevin Correia gave up run-scoring hits to Pujols and Edmonds, putting the game out of reach at 6-1.

Barry Bonds actually played an entire game without being walked, but went 0-for-4 in the contest. Bonds had his moments against both Williams and reliever Ray King, but couldn't keep a few foul balls fair that landed in McCovey Cove.

"When (Felipe Alou) was with Montreal, he said, 'We're here to be competitors, not cowards,'" Manager Tony La Russa said. "In the right situation, we would have walked him."

Bonds did show that he still has some defensive prowess as he held Pujols to a long single in the top of the sixth inning. Pujols lined a screamer over the top of Bonds' head that hit the left field wall, a few feet short of a homerun. Bonds then picked up the ball and fired an accurate throw to second base on one hop to keep Pujols at first.

Notes: Newly-acquired Ricky Ledee made a brief appearance in his Giants debut to the warm applause from the hometown crowd. Ledee was called upon to pinch-hit for Schmidt in the bottom of the seventh inning, but was retracted for Dustan Mohr when the Cards made a call to the bullpen for a left-handed reliever…Durham continued his defensive struggles as he couldn't handle a slow roller by Roger CedenoMarquis Grissom carried a poor July (.622 OPS) into August by going 0-for-4.

SFDugout.com Player(s) of the Game: San Francisco – Schmidt, who pitched like the Cy Young candidate he is, but could not be picked up his bullpen or offense. St. Louis – Williams, who turns 38 this year, but is proving that you can get better even when considered "past your prime."

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Phil Delacruz was a transplanted Giants fan, buried in the Southland. After four strenuous years in College, studying (read: partying), he's back in the beautiful "City by the Bay" – San Francisco. Do you think he should move back to LALA land? Or do you like him where he is now and appreciate the good reads? Either way, send him an e-mail at phildelacruz@aol.com to air out your frustrations or, more likely, songs of praise.

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