<
>

Rookie Williams wins fourth straight decision

7/8/2003

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Last week in St. Louis, rookie Jerome
Williams begged his teammates to share any secrets on how to shut
down Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.

San Francisco pitching coach Dave Righetti made it simple:
"Challenge him."

Williams pitched his second complete game of the year in his
eighth major league start, stumping Pujols and the rest of the St.
Louis lineup and leading the Giants to a 5-1 victory Monday night.

The right-hander (4-1) won his fourth straight, allowing seven
hits, striking out four, walking one and throwing 128 pitches.
Williams' last two victories have come against the Cardinals -- and
he has held Pujols hitless in seven at-bats in those two games.

"When I came into St. Louis, he had a .380-something average,"
Williams said. "I said, 'I'm going to face this guy,' and I was
asking everybody in the clubhouse, 'What should I do?"

He seems to have it figured out just fine, and some early run
support didn't hurt.

Barry Bonds hit his 639th career home run an estimated 471 feet,
and Marquis Grissom homered and drove in three runs.

Grissom hit a two-run homer with one out in the first off
Garrett Stephenson (4-9), and Bonds connected one batter later,
sending the ball high over the main concession stand in center
field. It was the third time this season the Giants hit
back-to-back homers.

Bonds' solo shot -- his 26th of the year -- was the second-longest
homer he's hit at 4-year-old Pacific Bell Park. The slugger hit one
an estimated 491 feet last Sept. 9 against the Dodgers' Odalis
Perez.

The 21-year-old Williams retired eight of the first 10 batters
he faced. He also got an added bonus when he doubled in the seventh
for his first major league hit.

Williams scored on Grissom's RBI infield single, and Bonds hit a
sacrifice fly to bring in another run in the inning.

Giants manager Felipe Alou was ejected in the fourth -- the first
time the 68-year-old skipper has been tossed this season.

Alou sprinted from the dugout to second base after Jose Cruz Jr.
was called out trying to steal. Alou hollered at second-base umpire
Jim Reynolds, who then threw him out.

Cruz made a headfirst slide into second and was ruled out on a
close call when second baseman Bo Hart made a low tag on Cruz's
arm. Alou received a standing ovation as he ran off the field.

Cruz was caught stealing again in the eighth on a similar play.

"That's the first time I've seen the Giants play live on
television. They looked good," Alou said with a smile. "Jerome
Williams looked good. ... Managers get thrown out. I got thrown out
three times in one week in the big leagues. There are blown calls.
We are in a pennant race. We consider every call life and death."

Aside from two hits each by Chris Widger and Edgar Renteria, the
Cardinals lacked any consistent offense in their first game in San
Francisco since losing to the Giants in the NL Championship Series
last October.

When asked about Williams' pitching, Cardinals manager Tony La
Russa said: "They can talk about him. They know about him better
than we do."

For Williams, all this success hasn't quite sunk in. He was
supposed make a spot start in place of the injured Kurt Ainsworth
and then head back to Triple-A Fresno. That was more than a month
ago.

"I go home and sit down thinking, 'Hey, that's me. I actually
throw like that," he said of watching his highlights on TV.

Jim Edmonds hit an RBI single in the third to score Widger, who
hit a leadoff double off Williams for the Cardinals' first hit. The
run broke a streak of 14 2-3 scoreless innings at home by Williams.

Stephenson allowed three runs and six hits in six innings,
striking out five and walking three to lose his fourth straight
start. The four consecutive losses matches a career-high.

He also gave up a homer to Bonds last week.

Game notes
The Giants have won eight of their last 10 at home. ... St.
Louis OF J.D. Drew missed his second straight game with a
troublesome knee. Drew left a game on July 1 with pain in his right
knee. ... San Francisco is 5-3 in Williams' eight starts, and two
of the losses have been by two or fewer runs. ... The paid crowd of
42,674 was the largest for a regular-season game in Pac Bell
history. The ballpark sold out for the 17th time this season. ...
Stephenson is 1-4 lifetime against San Francisco. He hasn't beaten
the Giants since May 9, 2000.