CHICAGO (Ticker) -- And the St. Louis Cardinals thought Tuesday would be a long day.
allowed five hits over eight more dominant innings and had an RBI single in a six-run fifth as the
waited out a rain delay of more than four hours before coasting to a 7-0 rout of the Cardinals.
The long-time rivals are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Tuesday at Wrigley Field. But the series opener took more than seven hours to complete after rain delayed the start for 4 hours, 17 minutes.
"The weather was not that bad. Games have been played in worse weather than this," St. Louis manager
Tony La Russa
said. "But the delay was tough, tough for both teams."
Prior (14-5) was unfazed, limiting the Cardinals to four singles and a double while walking three and striking out eight.
"I just waited and was patient," he said. "Weather is hard to predict, so I didn't get too far warming up. I relaxed, took a nap and hung out."
Since coming off the disabled list on August 4, the righthander has been nothing short of unhittable, yielding three runs in 47 innings to lower his ERA to 2.36.
"I don't feel different, but stakes are higher. Maybe that's helping me focus more," Prior said. "Baseball is a game of streaks and right now I'm on the positive side of one. Mechanically, I didn't feel great, so I just tried to make pitches."
"I've seen the good ones -
- and this ranks up there," Cubs manager
said. "He was awesome."
mopped up in the ninth for Chicago, which won for just the second time in six games but climbed within 1 1/2 of first-place St. Louis in the National League Central Division.
Prior helped himself at the plate, singling in
in the middle of a six-run fifth that chased Cardinals starter
"If you get in enough trouble, you can't get yourself out every time," said Williams, who surrendered six runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings. "I made some pitches in the fifth inning that they hit and they just kept finding holes."
In the first four innings, Chicago left eight men on base, including six in scoring position. Williams was not as fortunate in the fifth as the Cubs sent 11 men to the plate.
started the uprising with singles, producing the game's first run. Ramirez walked and
singled to make it 2-0. A sacrifice fly by
was followed by Prior's run-scoring single that ended Williams' long day.
"He was in trouble the whole first four innings and did a great job getting four zeros. But he caught some tough breaks in the fifth when they broke through," La Russa said.
greeted former Cub
with an RBI single and
doubled in a run for a 6-0 cushion.
Karros capped the scoring in the sixth with his 11th home run.