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10/07/06 7:11 PM ET
Williams asked to keep Padres going
Veteran hoping to send series back to San Diego for final game
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Woody Williams knew all along he was penciled in as the Padres' Game 4 starter in the National League Division Series. It was simply a matter of getting to a Game 4 and writing his name in ink. The Padres did that Saturday, bouncing back to beat the Cardinals and forcing another game here Sunday and another Padres must-win. Trailing in the best-of-five series, 2-1, the veteran Williams will get the ball. "I can't get too emotional about it," he said. "I know the crowd is going to be into it, and it's up to me to keep them out of it." Padres manager Bruce Bochy tabbed the 40-year-old Williams over Game 1 starter Jake Peavy, who would have been pitching on normal rest after losing the series opener in San Diego on Tuesday. It leaves Peavy available to pitch a potential Game 5 on Monday, back in San Diego. "Probably as much as having confidence in Woody, we think Jake could use another day," Bochy said after Saturday's 3-1 win. "[Peavy] has pitched a lot down the stretch, and we just think we're in a situation where we need to win two games and we're better off giving Jake another day vs. pushing him. "But really, it gets back to Woody. We think a lot of Woody Williams and he's done a terrific job for us." Williams has spent his last eight Major League seasons pitching for either the Padres or the Cardinals and has made seven postseason starts for those teams since 2001. The last two have stung. He surrendered five hits in 1 2/3 innings of a San Diego loss in last year's NLDS as St. Louis finished a three-game sweep. In Game 1 of the 2004 World Series, he surrendered seven runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings of a St. Louis loss to Boston, the first of a four-game Red Sox sweep. He pitched through adversity both times -- Williams missed part of the 2005 season with personal issues, and the 2004 World Series game was played in terrible weather and ended with an 11-9 final score. "I obviously wanted to pitch better, but I did the best I could," said Williams. "It would be nice to bounce back. I was prepared, but I just didn't do it." Williams made 92 starts for the Cardinals from 2001-2004 and is 26-8 in his career pitching in St. Louis. He was limited to 24 Padres starts this season by a calf injury in May and June and went 12-5 with a 3.65 ERA in 25 games. The team went 17-7 in his starts, winning eight of the last nine. A few clutch hits will help the cause. Russell Branyan's two-run double Saturday was good enough for an eventual 3-1 win, but Padres hitters were 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position in the game and are 1-for-25 in the first three games of the series. For the second straight day, they will be facing elimination, this time against Game 1 winner and Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.