Series: Game 1 of 2

St. Louis leads 1-0 (as of 7/21)

Game 1: Wednesday, July 21
St. Louis1
Game 2: Thursday, July 22
St. Louis4

Brewers 0

(47-46, 22-26 away)

Cardinals 1

(60-34, 29-18 home)

    8:10 PM ET, July 21, 2004

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    MIL 000000000 0 5 1
    STL 00000100 - 1 3 1

    W: W. Williams (7-6)

    L: V. Santos (9-4)

    S: J. Isringhausen (25)

    At 60-34, Cardinals lead the majors

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Woody Williams took care of everything.

    Williams threw seven innings of five-hit ball in 93-degree heat, got two of the St. Louis Cardinals' three hits and scored in a 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.

    "Hopefully this is the only time it's going to happen," Williams said. "They pitched good and I definitely got lucky on the second hit, and ended up scoring a run."

    Edgar Renteria hit a sixth-inning sacrifice fly for the Cardinals (60-34), who have the best record in the major leagues and have won 11 of 12 at home. Overall, they've won 14 of their last 16 .

    Williams (7-6) outdueled Victor Santos (9-4) to move above .500 for the first time. He began the year 1-5 after being limited to five innings in spring training due to shoulder tendinitis, but is 4-0 with a 2.49 ERA in his last seven starts.

    "Woody stepped up," manager Tony La Russa said. "To pitch seven innings in that heat with no margin for error -- outstanding."

    Jason Isringhausen, the third Cardinals pitcher, worked the ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances. He has saves each of the last three days and struck out two of the three Brewers he faced, likely earning a day off on Thursday.

    "No problem," Isringhausen said. "I don't want to miss saves, but I don't want to get hurt, either."

    Williams, who has 99 career victories, also had his first two-hit game of the year with a pair of singles. He reached on a bloop hit to start the sixth, went to third on a fielding error by second baseman Bill Hall and scored on Renteria's one-out fly to right.

    Ben Grieve appeared poised for a throw to the plate but changed his mind and threw to second to keep Tony Womack at first. Both managers agreed it was the right call.

    "I was hoping he'd throw it because then we'd have gotten that extra base," La Russa said. "Tony was tagged up and ready to. That was a smart play."

    "How is he going to throw him out from deep right?" Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He's got no chance, less than zero. I'd much rather have the ball towards second."

    Williams, who grew up and lives in humid Houston, appeared to gain strength as the game went along. Five of his strikeouts came in the last three innings.

    "Early on I felt good," Williams said. "But I didn't have the command I had in the end."

    Santos lost for the first time in eight road decisions this season, although he permitted only an unearned run in six innings. He gave up three hits with three strikeouts and a walk in his first career start against the Cardinals.

    "I'm satisfied with the performance but I could have made a couple of better pitches to Renteria," Santos said. "But that's baseball."

    The Brewers were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Williams. In the fifth, the .050-hitting Santos was stranded after a leadoff double.

    Game notes

    Brewers LF Geoff Jenkins left the game due to heat exhaustion after 3 1-2 innings on his 30th birthday. He took IV fluids in the clubhouse. "You worry about the body shutting down," Jenkins said. "I'll be good tomorrow, but I'll sleep tonight." ... The Brewers are 5-3 against the Cardinals, one of only two teams in the major leagues with a winning record against them. Milwaukee took three of four in a season-opening series in St. Louis and is 5-3 overall. ... Santos is 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA on the road in nine starts. ... Williams is 73-46 with a 3.64 ERA at night and 25-36 with a 4.97 ERA in day games. He's 10-5 against the Brewers, beating them more than any team. He has nine victories over the Astros. ... Renteria made an outstanding play at SS to end the eighth, gloving Lyle Overbay's grounder up the middle, stepping back to tag second and then throwing to first off his back foot to first for a double play. ... The Cardinals didn't win their 60th game last year until Aug. 9.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press