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Pujols homers twice in support of Williams

5/1/2003

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Once again, New York Mets pitchers got
battered.

Albert Pujols homered twice and Eli Marrero and Fernando Vina
also connected, leading Woody Williams and the St. Louis Cardinals
to a 13-4 victory Wednesday night.

Edgar Renteria drove in three runs, giving him seven RBI in two
games, as the Cardinals followed up Tuesday night's 13-3 romp over
the Mets by routing them again.

"They pounded the ball tonight," Mets manager Art Howe said.
"If you don't keep them in the yard, you're in trouble."

The Mets have lost four in a row, getting outscored 39-11, and
are in last place in the NL East at 11-16 despite a $117 million
payroll. Although they didn't make any official errors, they had
several shoddy plays in the field.

Williams (4-0) allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings,
with five strikeouts and two walks despite feeling less than 100
percent due to a virus. The Mets scored both of their runs after
right fielder J.D. Drew got turned inside-out and misplayed Vance
Wilson's drive for a ball that was ruled a double in the fourth.

Williams didn't seem to mind.

"They could have scored a lot more," Williams said. "They hit
a lot of balls very, very hard and luckily our guys were standing
there."

The runs were the first allowed at Busch Stadium this season by
Williams, who began the year with 17 1-3 scoreless innings at home.
He entered the game with an NL-leading 0.69 ERA and left with it a
still minuscule 1.09 ERA.

"It's amazing," manager Tony La Russa said. "That probably
ranks right up there with Dizzy Dean and Bob Gibson as far as
stretches."

Just like the opener of the series, this game was over early.
After scoring four runs in the first against Al Leiter on Tuesday,
they got five in the first off Pedro Astacio (1-1).

All of the runs came with two outs, starting with Pujols' fourth
home run and capped by Marrero's three-run shot just over the
center-field wall and just over Timo Perez's glove. Renteria added
a run-scoring single.

Vina hit a two-run homer to drive in Williams, who had doubled,
in the second. Pujols added a two-run homer, his fifth, in the
fourth for a 9-2 lead.

"He's such a hungry hitter," La Russa said. "If you make a
mistake, he's liable to get you."

Vina had been in a 2-for-20 slump and got a day off on Tuesday.
He's been taking extra batting practice and also shaved off his
goatee.

"You want to hit it like the other guys," Vina said. "You
want to do your part, too, to help this team."

Astacio, who beat the Astros on April 24 in his first start of
the season, lasted four innings and gave up nine runs on nine hits.
He opened the year on the disabled list with tendinitis in his
right shoulder.

"It was just one of those bad games," Astacio said. "Almost
every hitter, I was behind."

The Mets, who had committed 10 errors in the previous three
games, had no official errors this time. But left fielder Cliff
Floyd gave up on Williams' fly ball over his head at the warning
track for a double in the second, first baseman Mo Vaughn only
flailed at Pujols' foul pop fly in the second and three fielders
converged slowly on Jim Edmonds' bloop double to left in the first.

"That's just an inability to get to the ball," Howe said. "We
just can't get there."

Vaughn homered into the upper deck in the ninth, a drive
estimated at 466 feet. Wilson also homered in the ninth.

Game notes
The Cardinals moved above .500 at 13-12 for the first time
since April 20. ... Williams is 11-2 for his career at Busch
Stadium with an 2.02 ERA. ... Williams is 60-39 in night games with
a 3.55 ERA and 18-28 with a 5.00 ERA in day games. He has allowed
three or fewer runs in 28 of his last 29 starts. ... Renteria leads
the NL with 15 multihit games and five multi-RBI games. He leads
the Cardinals in runs (20), hits (37), doubles (12) and RBI (24).
... Astacio is 7-12 against the Cardinals and 3-7 at Busch Stadium
with a 6.27 ERA. ... The Mets have been outscored 22-9 in the first
inning. ... Pujols' multihomer game was his first since May 28,
2001, against the Brewers. ... Edmonds was lifted after three
innings because of general fatigue, but is expected to play in the
series finale on Thursday.

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