ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Woody Williams looks to justify his
manager's faith in him on Thursday night when he starts Game Two
for the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship
Series against the San Francisco Giants.
Williams (NR) was not on the Division Series roster for St.
Louis after leaving his last start on September 20 against
Houston with two outs in the fifth inning with a pulled muscle
in his side. He allowed three runs and six hits in a 9-3
victory. Willims missed most of July and August with a strained
"It's kind of been weird, where it's hard to fingerprint at any
one time where exactly the pain was coming from," Williams said.
"It's kind of moved all the way around from my back to the
front throughout the year. It's kind of a grabbing sensation
that was not allowing me to complete my mechanics."
The veteran righthander is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last four
starts. Williams did not face the Giants this season but owns a
3-4 lifetime record against them with a 5.29 ERA. He has lost
four of five decisions against San Francisco since the start of
the 2000 season.
Williams made his postseason debut last season in Game Two of
the Division Series at Arizona and yielded a run and four hits
in seven innings as he outdueled Randy Johnson in a 4-1 victory.
His last few outings have given manager Tony La Russa
confidence in him.
"The first time he came back, we talked about a rehab start and
he was open to it and we saw him throw a simulated game and he
was just painting," La Russa said. "What more does he have to
do? So we brought him right in there against the Cubs and he
pitched great. Next time, he did the same thing after being off
for a while, came back and pitched great. So with those two
experiences and what we saw Sunday, we think he'll come out and
The Cardinals are looking to avoid dropping the first two games
of this series after a 9-6 defeat in Wednesday's opener. Benito
Santiago had three hits and four RBI and Barry Bonds added a
two-run triple to pace San Francisco's 11-hit attack.
Bonds' triple and Santiago's RBI single that followed keyed a
four-run second inning that gave San Francisco a 5-0 lead. Kenny
Lofton added a solo shot and David Bell's solo homer gave the
Giants a 7-1 cushion in the fifth.
After Bell's homer, St. Louis reliever Mike Crudale brushed back
Lofton, who reacted angrily as both benches cleared. La Russa
later suggested that Lofton reacted so poorly in an effort to
prevent the Cardinals from throwing inside to him.
St. Louis mounted a rally as Albert Pujols belted a two-run
homer in the fifth and pinch hitter J.D Drew's solo shot in the
eighth made it 9-6. But Giants closer Robb Nen worked a hitless
ninth for his third save this postseason.
"This team has bounced back from losses all year very well,"
Cardinals first baseman Tino Martinez said. "We never let one
loss affect another one. These guys know it's one game at a
time here and we'll come back tomorrow and play a good game."
Jason Schmidt (0-1, 6.75 ERA) gets the baseball for San
Francisco. Schmidt was the loser in Game Three of the Division
Series against against Atlanta, when he surrendered four runs
and three hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 10-2 defeat.
The righthander went just 5-3 with a 5.02 ERA in 13 starts on
the road this year. He went 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in a pair of
starts against St. Louis this season and is 6-6 lifetime against
"I think anybody in baseball will tell you, coming here is one
of the best places to play in the big league," Schmidt said.
"Now we've got a chance to do it in the playoffs, as well. This
is a first-rate organization, and to get an opportunity to pitch
here in a situation like this is an honor. The Cardinals,
everything about them, goes without saying, it's an unbelievable
place. It's going to be exciting. Some of the best fans in