St. Louis (56-51) at Washington (54-54)

Cloudy Currently: Montreal, QC
Temp: 52° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Thu Jul 31, 2003
  • TV: FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Woody Williams is no longer dominating his opponents, but he’s still beating them.

The veteran right-hander looks to win his fifth straight start as the St. Louis Cardinals try to complete a three-game sweep of the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium.

Williams is also aiming to keep pace with the major league leaders as he tries for his 15th win of the season. Atlanta’s Russ Ortiz and Toronto’s Roy Halladay are the only 15-game winners in the majors.

However, Williams has been struggling throughout the later portion of his career year.

In Saturday’s 13-8 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, he allowed five runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.

Though Williams is 6-1 in his last seven starts, he has given up at least five runs in four of those outings. His ERA has climbed from 1.99 after a June 5 win over Toronto to a season-high 3.42.

“I haven’t been pitching that well,” said Williams, whose previous career high for wins was 12 in 1999 with San Diego. “It’s hard on me because I don’t feel like I’m doing my job. I’m putting a lot of pressure on the bullpen.

The Cardinals have won five of seven with Wednesday’s 11-1 rout of the Expos as rookie Dan Haren pitched seven shutout innings and Mike Matheny hit a three-run double in a seven-run first inning.

St. Louis is unbeaten in its five games against Montreal this season, outscoring the Expos 30-6. The Expos are batting just .203 (32-for-158) against the Cardinals and have yet to hit a homer.

Endy Chavez drove in the lone run Wednesday for Montreal, which has dropped nine of 16 since the All-Star break.

STANDINGS: Cardinals - 2nd place, 2 GB, NL Central. Expos - 4th place, 16 1/2 GB, NL East.

CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Williams (14-3, 3.42 ERA). Williams is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in two career starts against Montreal.

EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Zach Day (4-4, 4.14 ERA). Day is 0-3 with an 11.07 ERA over his last three starts and is coming off his worst outing of the season. The 25-year-old right-hander surrendered six runs and five hits over just two innings of Saturday’s 15-4 loss to Atlanta, walking two without notching a strikeout. Day didn’t figure into the decision in his lone career appearance against St. Louis, allowing five hits over four scoreless innings of Montreal’s 5-3 loss last Aug. 8.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Albert Pujols, .373 avg., 98 RBIs and 96 runs; Pujols and Jim Edmonds, 29 HRs; Edgar Renteria, 25 SBs. Expos - Jose Vidro, .324 avg.; Orlando Cabrera, 15 HRs, 62 RBIs, 70 runs and 17 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 5-0.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - 1B Pujols has a team season-high 14-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .429 (24-for-56) with two homers, 12 RBIs and 15 runs scored. … OF Edmonds, nursing a sore shoulder, was out of the lineup again Wednesday and has started just four of the Cardinals’ 13 games since the All-Star break. … The Cardinals’ 53 errors are the second fewest in the NL behind San Francisco’s 49. Expos - RHP Day has allowed only four homers in 67.1 innings this season—one homer every 16.2 innings. … SS Cabrera ranks either first or second in nearly every major offensive category among NL shortstops. … Expos players held an hour-long meeting with Gene Orza, the No. 2 official of the players’ association, in the clubhouse before batting practice Wednesday. The players claimed they didn’t want to split their home schedule between cities as they did this season, when 22 “home” games were played in Puerto Rico.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 25-29 on the road; Expos - 32-22 at home.

INJURIES: Cardinals - C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; 2B Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Morris (hand), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (calf), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kiko Calero (foot), 60-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL. Expos - C Michael Barrett (hip), 15-day DL; 3B Fernando Tatis (chest), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Scott Stewart (appendicitis), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Williams Hou vs. Z. Day Min
18-9 Record 9-8
3.87 ERA 4.18
153 K 61
55 BB 59
1.25 WHIP 1.45