Giants 4, Cardinals 1

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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 innings.

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

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

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 innings.

“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 games.”

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 Feliz.

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 majorleague-leading average dipped to .379.

Notes

Santiago is 13-for-39 (.333) during an 11-game hitting streak with a home run, two doubles and five RBIs. … 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 Valderramato Triple-A Fresno.

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