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Rolen's pair can't trump Cubs06/08/2004 11:02 PM ET
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- For much of the Cardinals' primarily groundball-oriented pitching staff, it has gone past rule of thumb and guideline, past mantra, all the way to a law written on stone tablets. Keep the ball down and let the Gold Glovers do the work.
For Woody Williams, with his flyball tendencies, it's sometimes a different story. Even with six-time Gold Glover Jim Edmonds anchoring things in center, it was dicey for Williams and his outfielders on Tuesday night. With Williams not at his best, and the outfielders not at their best, it shouldn't have been surprising that St. Louis fell to the Cubs, 7-3.
"I bet you it's not easy to play the outfield here," said manager Tony La Russa. "It's hard to see and with the wind and everything ... (The Cubs) didn't exactly star in the outfield either. There were some plays that gave them a little extra life, but (Williams) didn't have a great outing."
Matt Clement shut down the St. Louis offense -- with the exception of Scott Rolen, who hit two homers -- for eight innings en route to his seventh win of the year. Clement broke out of a bit of a recent funk to beat the Cardinals for the third time in 2004. He struck out nine and issued just one walk -- to Rolen.
Williams was charged with seven runs, six of them earned, in five innings as his personal two-start winning streak was snapped. He tied a career high with 12 base hits allowed and fell to 1-6 lifetime at Wrigley Field.
"It's just the way it's going," said Williams (3-6), who refused to place any blame on his defense. "They're hitting some good pitches. I can't change anything. I don't want to. I'm not looking for an excuse or anything. I just want to go out there and continue to work and hopefully things will turn around."
Rolen smoked a home run to right field and one to left, but grounded out in his only at-bat with a runner on base. Aside from the third baseman's big hits, Cardinals hitters managed a total of three hits against Clement.
The fourth hit, Aramis Ramirez's single, got Chicago on the board (leadoff man Jose Macias was caught stealing). Todd Hollandsworth lifted a fly ball to right field that Roger Cedeno appeared to have a chance to catch, but Cedeno couldn't make a play and it went for a two-run double.
"You have a choice of diving for that ball or let it drop and try and make the hitter get a double instead of a triple," said Cedeno. "Because the wall is right there. If you don't get there on time, it can be kind of tough.
"I just decided not to dive because the wall is right there. I think it's a catchable ball, but you've got no room to run."
Rolen's second homer cut a 4-1 lead to 4-2, but in the fifth it was more of the same bad news for Williams. Hollandsworth doubled again, on a ball it seemed Ray Lankford at least had a shot at catching up to, and Derrek Lee singled and took third on an error by Jim Edmonds. Lee went on to score on a sac fly, making one of Williams' runs unearned.
"At night it is (a tough place to play)," said Lankford. "Just bad lights in the outfield. There's no lights in the outfield. You see the ball but it's real dark. It's black. You can see it, but you don't see it clear. ... It's tough to judge the depth of the ball."
Cedeno was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing with home plate umpire Rick Reed. He was replaced by So Taguchi with an 0-2 count. When Taguchi swung and missed for the out, Cedeno was, by rule, charged with the strikeout.
The Cardinals fell to 33-25 but remained in second place in the NL Central. They are 4-5 against the Cubs this season, including 2-3 at Wrigley.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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