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Williams pitches Cards past Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Add Woody Williams to the long list of pitchers who look forward to playing in Los Angeles.
Williams threw a four-hitter and Jim Edmonds homered Friday night to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-1 victory over the Dodgers.
"I just love Dodger Stadium, the atmosphere, the mound, that's what baseball is all about," he said.
Williams' previous complete game also came at Dodger Stadium, last Sept. 23 when he was with the San Diego Padres.
By spotting his fastball for strikes early in the count, Williams (11-9) was able to keep the Dodgers hitting the ball into the ground.
"There's been a few years where I've led the league in fly balls," Williams said. "I've concentrated on keeping my pitches low. If you put a hitter behind in the count, you can do a lot of stuff."
Williams cruised through the first three innings, holding the Dodgers hitless on just 31 pitches. During that stretch, the Dodgers only hit one fly ball into the outfield.
For the game, Williams got 14 outs on ground balls. Three of the Dodgers' hits came on grounders.
Williams helped himself with an RBI double.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he had no doubts about sending Williams out to pitch the ninth inning.
"He was still making good pitches and there were no hard-hit balls in the eighth inning," La Russa said. "We just watched him to see if he had lost his stuff. That was a nice, tidy night."
It was economical as well as Williams completed the game with just 108 pitches.
La Russa credited Williams' control for being the difference.
Los Angeles catcher Paul Lo Duca agreed.
"He threw strikes with all four of his pitches," said Lo Duca, who was 1-for-3.
When Williams got the ball up in the strike zone, he had problems.
Eric Karros hit his 14th homer in the fifth in the only inning in which Los Angeles hit the ball hard. In that inning, all three of the Dodgers outs were on fly balls to left field.
Williams struck out three and walked one.
The Cardinals played without Mark McGwire, who missed his eighth straight game with a strained hamstring.
Edmonds, who had 24 RBIs in the 16 games prior to Friday, homered just beyond the glove of right fielder Shawn Green in the third. It was Edmonds' 23rd home run.
St. Louis added another run in the fourth to make it 4-0 when Fernando Vina doubled home Eli Marrero.
Marrero drew four walks, one of them intentional, and scored twice.
Eric Gagne (4-7) was pulled after the fourth inning having allowed four runs on five hits with three walks, two of which resulted in runs, and three strikeouts.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the second inning when Marrero walked and scored on Williams' double. Williams has six RBIs this season.
NOTES: St. Louis optioned rookie LHP Bud Smith to Class A Potomac and recalled C Keith McDonald from Triple-A Memphis. McDonald will be eligible for postseason play. Smith is expected to be recalled on Saturday.