CHICAGO -- The weather is heating up, and so is Derrek Lee.
Lee went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to spark an offensive outburst Tuesday night, and Matt Clement kept up his mastery of the St. Louis Cardinals in a 7-3 victory.
"It was a good game," said Lee, hitting .317 with 12 RBIs over the last 10 games. "I got some hits, and Clement pitched a good game. We needed it."
Every Cubs starter except Clement got at least one hit. Todd Hollandsworth had a pair of RBIs, and Aramis Ramirez and Ramon Martinez each drove in a run. Clement (7-4) improved to 3-0 against the Cardinals this season, scattering three runs and five hits over eight innings while striking out nine.
Scott Rolen was the only Cardinal with any luck against Clement, homering twice and drawing a walk. But the Cardinals, playing without NL batting champion Albert Pujols, managed only four other hits -- two in the final five innings.
"Clement was just outstanding," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "As well as he pitched, Scott gets a walk and a couple of home runs and he hits another ball hard. You have a day like that against anybody, it's outstanding. But as well as their pitcher was throwing, that means even more."
It didn't mean a win, though.
The Cubs have been scuffling for offense without Sammy Sosa, scoring four runs or less in six of their previous seven games. But Williams (3-6) was the perfect remedy. He has lost his last three decisions against Chicago, all at Wrigley Field, and the Friendly Confines weren't any more welcoming Tuesday. The Cubs roughed him up for seven runs -- six earned -- and 12 hits in five innings.
Chicago had a runner in scoring position in all but one inning against Williams and touched him for six straight hits in the four-run third.
"I think hitting is contagious," Lee said. "I think it's a confidence level. When your team is swinging the bat well, it kind of snowballs. And the same thing the other way."
With Moises Alou at second, Ramirez at first and Hollandsworth at the plate with one out in the third, Williams spun around and threw to second. But his throw was a little wide, and backup shortstop Hector Luna couldn't grab it. The ball skipped into the outfield, allowing Alou to go to third and Ramirez to second.
Hollandsworth followed with a double to the deep corner in right. Roger Cedeno looked as if he might grab it, but he stopped short of the brick wall and had to play it on the hop, giving Alou and Ramirez plenty of time to score.
"You have two choices, diving for that ball or letting it drop and trying to keep the hitter to a double instead of a triple," Cedeno said. "It was a catchable ball if you have a little more room."
The Cubs weren't done yet, either. Lee doubled just inside the left-field line past a diving Rolen to drive in another run and make it 4-1.
"I thought I had pretty good stuff, they just put the bat on good pitches," Williams said. "It was just one of those days. It's been worse for me."
Chicago tacked on three more runs in the fifth, thanks to a rare blunder by Gold Glove center fielder Jim Edmonds. With runners at second and third, Lee hit a sharp liner to center. But when Edmonds put his glove up near his face to grab it, the ball bounced off the glove and over his shoulder, bouncing all the way back to the wall.
Lee was credited with a two-run single and took third on the error. He scored on Martinez's sac fly one out later to give the Cubs a 7-2 lead.
"It felt good out there. Nice and humid, got to get a good sweat going," said Lee, a California native who spent the first six years of his career in Florida. "It was fun out there tonight."
Notes: Cedeno was ejected in the top of the eighth inning after complaining about the call on a swinging second strike. Plate umpire Rick Reed originally called it a ball, but Clement appealed to third-base umpire Alfonso Marquez, who said Cedeno had swung. Cedeno argued to no avail, and was so angry he smacked his bat on home plate, breaking it. Reed then tossed him. ... A power outage in the Wrigleyville neighborhood before the game knocked TV coverage out briefly, but the ballpark itself wasn't affected.