Cardinals 3, Brewers 2
St. Louis beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 Wednesday night for its 99th victory. The Cardinals’ next win will mark the seventh time in franchise history they reached 100.
“I don’t look at that personally,” Williams said. “One-hundred is a nice number, no doubt about it. I am not downplaying it by any means, but we definitely need to keep our head in the right direction.”
The Cardinals last won 100 games in 1985, when they won 101 games en route to an NL East title and pennant.
The National League Central division champions have won 32 of their last 45 games, and improved to 47-27 on the road with Wednesday’s win.
Larry Walker’s two-run fifth-inning homer keyed the victory. Milwaukee had 14 runners left on base.
“From their side, it’s missed opportunities,” manager Tony LaRussa said. “From our side, you just have to make the pitches at key times.”
Brady Clark had four hits and drove in both runs for Milwaukee, which has lost eight of nine and is 18-46 after the All-Star break.
Ben Sheets set a franchise record for strikeouts in a season when he fanned Albert Pujols in the fourth inning to pass Teddy Higuera, who struck out 240 in 1987. Sheets struck out eight, giving him 245 for the season.
“Sheets is the real deal,” LaRussa said. “He was very impressive, kind of what we expected. I don’t care what the numbers are.”
Williams (11-7) gave up one run and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings for his eighth victory in his last nine decisions. He walked two and had runners on base in five of his innings.
Jason Isringhausen gave up an RBI double to Clark in the ninth before finishing with his 44th save in 51 chances.
Sheets allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings to fall to 11-13 despite an ERA of 2.85. The Brewers have scored just 17 runs in Sheets’ 13 losses this season.
Sheets has lost four straight decisions to the Cardinals.
“It’s a tough lineup,” Sheets said. “You probably won’t go though there unscathed too many times.”
The Cardinals scored in the fourth to make it 1-0 on a single by Jim Edmonds and an RBI triple by Roger Cedeno. They added two in the fifth when Marlon Anderson singled with two outs and Walker hit Sheets’ next pitch 400 feet and into the right-field stands for his 16th homer.
“I guessed,” Walker said. “I was looking for a fastball, and I got it. It’s like heads or tails, a fastball or curveball, right?
Walker has hit 10 home runs since being traded to St. Louis from the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 6.
Milwaukee pulled to 3-1 in the sixth. Geoff Jenkins led off with a ground-rule double to center and Clark followed with a run-scoring single.
The Brewers left runners on base in all but the first inning, including the bases loaded in the third.
But Brewers manager Ned Yost gave all the credit to the Cardinals.
“The reason they’re the champions of the Central Division is because they have got a lineup full of good hitters,” he said.
Cardinals 2B Tony Womack pinch hit in the ninth and flew out, ending his 14-game hitting streak. … St. Louis RHP Chris Carpenter, who left Saturday’s game with a right biceps strain, has nerve irritation in his upper arm, team officials said. Carpenter was evaluated by team doctor George Paletta Wednesday in St. Louis, and an MRI of his neck, shoulder and upper arm were normal. Carpenter will be re-evaluated Saturday. RHP Dan Haren will start Thursday in Carpenter’s place. … Sheets has walked just 30 batters to go along with his 245 strikeouts this season. His previous career high in strikeouts came in 2002, when he fanned 170 en route to an 11-16 record for the 56-106 Brewers. Sheets has won 11 games in each of his first four major league seasons.