Cincinnati (7-3) at St. Louis (5-5)

  • Game info: 2:15 pm EDT Sat Apr 15, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Cincinnati Reds look to improve on their best start since their last championship season when they continue their series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

The Reds’ 7-3 record after 10 games is their best since 1990, when they opened 9-1 and finished by sweeping the Oakland Athletics in the World Series.

Aaron Harang almost single-handedly won the opening game of the three-game series, 1-0 on Friday. The right-handed pitcher went seven innings allowing four hits, and had the game-winning RBI on his fourth career base hit.

“I hit it off the end of the bat,” Harang said. “I hurt my hands.”

Cincinnati hopes Dave Williams will have similar success against St. Louis in his second start of the season.

The left-hander, acquired from Pittsburgh in the offseason, is coming off a solid debut for the Reds in a 5-3 loss to the Pirates on Sunday. He pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs and five hits against his former teammates.

“It was exciting to get out there and pitch against my old team,” Williams said. “I just felt like this first outing was a building block for the season.”

Williams will now face a Cardinals club against which he has a 2-4 record, 3.79 ERA and .220 opponent batting average. In five of the starts his teammates supplied him with two runs in support or less.

Cincinnati may be without center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. for the third consecutive game due to right knee stiffness. He is listed as day-to-day and his status for Saturday is uncertain.

“I’m sure he’s optimistic that he will play,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said.

Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds, who struck out with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning on Friday, is trying to pull out of an early season slump.

He is 6-for-38 (.158) with 15 strikeouts through 10 games. The eight-time Gold Glove-winner has also committed three errors in the last two contests after making only two in all of 2005.

The 35-year-old Edmonds hopes to end the slump against Williams, who he is 4-for-10 against lifetime with a double and two home runs.

St. Louis (5-5) is hoping for more production from the heart of its batting order. Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Edmonds combined to go 0-for-9 on Friday.

The Cardinals will give Sidney Ponson his second start of the season after he did not factor in the decision in his first game for the club. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings of an 8-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

He lost his only career start against the Reds, a 10-6 defeat on June 12, 2005 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Williams WAS vs. S. Ponson KC
5-4 Record 4-5
6.52 ERA 6.25
32 K 48
20 BB 36
1.64 WHIP 1.69