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Big innings back Clement's win06/08/2004 10:58 PM ET
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Nothing against Woody Williams, but he's not exactly Roger Clemens or Matt Morris or Jason Schmidt. And Matt Clement has had to deal with Clemens, Morris and Schmidt in recent starts.
On Tuesday night, Clement finally got some run support and a non-ace as his opponent as he struck out nine and scattered five hits over eight innings to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Matt's determined and you can tell by the way he's pitching," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He's done a great job for us. He's turned into one of the better pitchers in the league. If it hadn't been for Scott Rolen -- that guy is unbelievable."
"The only guy who could get to (Clement) was Rolen and that guy is in a zone right now," said Chicago's Derrek Lee, who went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs to back Clement.
Rolen was a problem. Of the five hits off Clement (7-4), two were solo home runs by Rolen. Clement now is 3-0 against the Cardinals this season and 6-2 on his home diamond.
"A guy like Scott Rolen had the upper hand on me tonight," Clement said. "But you enjoy those battles, especially against a guy who plays the game the right way. Sometimes you get him out, sometimes you don't, but in a year where he's locked in like this you enjoy the challenge."
Clement is 2-3 with a no-decision in his last six starts, but he's had to deal with some No. 1 opponents. And the Cubs totaled one run in his three losses.
"It was a tough stretch because when I pitched good, we didn't hit and then we hit a little bit and I pitched bad," Clement said. "There were four or five games when I faced Matt Morris, Jason Schmidt and Clemens. We were facing All-Stars and the best pitchers in the game.
"It was a tough stretch, but it was a big win tonight," he said. "Any time you beat the Cardinals, it's such a tough lineup even though a couple guys are out. There's no relaxing the whole game. And every time I pitch it seems like the wind is howling out."
"Matty doesn't complain, he just pitches," Baker said. "I'm glad we got him some support tonight."
Lee continued his hot June -- he has a hit in every game this month -- in front of a sellout crowd of 39,338 at sweltering Wrigley Field as the Cubs evened this series at 1-1, and took a 5-4 edge over the Cardinals in the season series.
Rolen, who hit a three-run homer Monday night against the Cubs, gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead with his 15th home run leading off the second. He also connected with one out in the fourth for his third multi-homer game and 16th of his career.
The Cubs finally put together some hits in the third and rattled off six in a row to go ahead, 4-1. Michael Barrett and Moises Alou each singled, and both advanced on a throwing error by Williams. Aramis Ramirez hit an RBI single, scoring Barrett, and Todd Hollandsworth followed with a two-run double. Hollandsworth then tallied on Lee's double.
"When I'm hitting doubles in the gap, that's where my swing should be," Lee said. "I'm putting better swings on the ball and driving balls in the gap and that's a good sign. You try to keep going and build on it every day."
After Rolen's second homer made it 4-2 in the Cardinals' fourth, the Cubs answered in the fifth. Ramirez singled and Hollandsworth doubled to open the inning, and both scored on Lee's single. Lee reached third on the play as the ball bounced over center fielder Jim Edmonds for an error and then tallied on Ramon Martinez's sacrifice fly to make it 7-2.
Baker had lamented after Monday's game, a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals, that the Cubs were struggling to come up with hits in RBI situations. That wasn't a problem Tuesday.
"It seems like sometimes you get them, sometimes you can't," Baker said. "Tonight, we got big, big hits in RBI situations."
"I think hitting is contagious," Lee said. "I think it's a confidence level. When the team is swinging the bat well, it kind of snowballs and the same thing the other way. When guys aren't hitting, it snowballs the other way."
Snow? It was 90 degrees at game time.
"I actually had a lot of energy," Clement said. "It didn't feel as bad as I anticipated."
Williams (3-6) took the loss, giving up seven runs -- six earned -- on 12 hits and one walk over five innings. The right-hander apparently doesn't like Wrigley Field as much as Clement, and dropped to 1-6 lifetime in Chicago.
The game began on time although television viewers couldn't follow the first couple innings because of a power outage that affected the trucks handling the broadcast feed. The picture was eventually restored by the third inning.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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