ST. LOUIS (AP)—Woody Williams showed why he’s an All-Star for the first time in his career.
Williams didn’t allow a baserunner until the sixth inning and had a sacrifice fly in a decisive two-run seventh as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 4-2 to snap a four-game losing streak Friday night.
“I felt good, but I was thinking win,” Williams said. “I wanted to win and I knew the team needed it. It’s been pretty bad around here the last few days.”
Williams walked Gary Bennett with one out in the sixth to end his string. After a sacrifice, Mark Kotsay hit a two-run homer for the Padres’ first hit. Williams allowed two hits over eight innings with two strikeouts and two walks.
“What he’s done for us is just really, really top-notch,” manager Tony La Russa said. “This is the Woody Williams game I’m going to remember for a long time.”
Rookie Bo Hart followed Williams’ tying fly ball off Brian Lawrence with a go-ahead single for the Cardinals, who have won only four of their last 12. But St. Louis has won 27 of the last 31 meetings against the Padres dating to the start of the 1999 season.
Hart was 2-for-3, his 10th multihit game in his first 22 games, and is hitting .381. But this was perhaps his biggest hit.
“It was big,” Hart said. “I wanted that one, I really did.”
Williams (12-3), named to his first All-Star team at age 36 earlier this week, joined Russ Ortiz of the Braves as the NL’s only 12-game winners. He’s 4-1 in his last five starts.
The Padres’ other hit off Williams, who played with San Diego from 1999-2001, was a leadoff single in the eighth by Gary Matthews Jr. Williams escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth by getting Kotsay to ground into a force at home, and then inducing a popup from Mark Loretta.
“What it came down to was they got theirs in the seventh and eighth, and we didn’t,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “That was the difference in the game.”
Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.
Edgar Renteria was 3-for-3 with a home run for the Cardinals, making him 9-for-19 in his last five games. It was his NL-leading 39th multihit game, one more than teammate Albert Pujols, who did not start for the first time since April 15. Pujols pinch-hit in the eighth and played first base in he ninth.
Lawrence (5-10) allowed three runs on seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He’s 1-3 in his last six starts and bemoaned only the home run pitch to Renteria. He said Hart got lucky on the game-winner.
“He got that off the end of the bat,” Lawrence said. “If he doesn’t, it’s probably an out.”
Despite the loss, the Padres are 9-4 in their last 13 games.
Loretta was 0-for-4, ending a 10-game hitting streak in which he went 21-for-44. He had an 11-game hitting streak in June. … Sean Burroughs singled in the ninth to reach base for the 15th straight game. He is 20 for his last 54. … The Cardinals are 1-5 in a stretch of 14 consecutive games against the NL West. … Edmonds was 1-for-2 with two walks and is 10-for-34 during a nine-game hitting streak. … Williams is the Cardinals’ first 12-game winner at the All-Star break since Kent Bottenfield was 14-3 in 1999. … Ryan Klesko, who has missed the last four starts with a respiratory ailment, walked as a pinch hitter in the eighth. Bochy is hoping Klesko can start at 1B onSaturday.