Five relievers allow one run combined

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals' rebuilt bullpen passed

its first test.

Five relievers combined to allow just one run in six innings,

and the Cardinals rallied for a 9-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers

on Wednesday night.

"The bullpen is strong, there's no doubt about it," starter

Woody Williams said after throwing 82 pitches in three innings.

"We've got a lot of guys with experience and they know how to get

outs."

In the offseason, the Cardinals added Julian Tavarez, Ray King

and Mike Lincoln to a bullpen that blew a major league-high 30 save

opportunities last year, failing early while closer Jason

Isringhausen was recovering from shoulder surgery. Tavarez and

Lincoln, along with holdover Cal Eldred, played key roles

Wednesday.

The Cardinals also overcame some shoddy defense to beat a

Brewers team that nicked them for 15 runs the first two games.

Scott Rolen capped a five-run rally in the seventh inning with a

three-run homer. Rolen and Jim Edmonds each hit their first homers

of the season for the Cardinals, who stumbled out of the gate

against a team that went 68-94 last year.

"Nobody was panicking, obviously," Rolen said. "But it's nice

to start tallying wins instead of tallying losses."

Wes Helms had three hits with two RBI for the Brewers, who

missed a chance to start the season 3-0 for only the sixth time in

franchise history. They last did it in 1995.

The Cardinals got five runs on five hits in the seventh off

Adrian Hernandez (0-1), making his season debut after making the

team as a non-roster invitee. Albert Pujols' sacrifice fly tied it

at 4 and Edmonds gave St. Louis the lead with a sharply hit ball

that second baseman Junior Spivey knocked down in the shallow

infield but could not stop.

Rolen followed Edmonds' hit with his home run on a full-count

pitch.

"I know he's waiting for something to hit and I threw the

curveball out over the plate," Hernandez said. "It was real easy

for him to hit the ball and that's what he did."

Williams totaled only five innings in spring training due to

shoulder tendinitis, and the rust showed as he allowed three runs --

two earned -- on six hits. He struggled with his command, going to a

full count against five of the first six batters and throwing 33

pitches in the Brewers' two-run second.

"That second inning seemed like it lasted three years,"

Williams said. "I wasn't counting, I wasn't drawing a line in the

sand, but I'm pretty much aware of what it is."

Matt Kinney allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings for

the Brewers, leaving with a 4-3 lead. He was more impressive at the

plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI single to double his career hit

total.

Entering the game, Kinney had been 2-for-57 (.035). He also had

a much-improved showing against the Cardinals, against whom he was

0-4 with a 10.13 ERA last year.

Lincoln (1-0), the third St. Louis pitcher, allowed one walk in

1 1-3 hitless innings.

Helms had a two-run single off Williams in the third for a 3-1

lead and Helms doubled and scored on Gary Bennett's two-out single

in the sixth to make it 4-2.

The Cardinals also scored on Pujols' double-play ball in the

first, Pujols doubled and scored on Scott Rolen's grounder in the

third, Edmonds homered leading off the sixth and pinch-hitter So

Taguchi doubled in a run in the eighth.

St. Louis struggled defensively from the first play of the game.

Scott Posednik got an infield hit when Pujols was indecisive at

first base after gloving his slow roller. Shortstop Edgar Renteria

botched a grounder to help the Brewers score an unearned run in the

second, and outfielders Reggie Sanders and Edmonds both made poor

relay throws.Game notes
Williams was 3-0 with an 0.44 ERA last year against the

Brewers. His longest spring training outing was two innings, on two

occasions. ... The Cardinals last started the season 0-3 when they

were swept at Colorado in 2001. They haven't lost three straight

home games to open the season since 1969. ... NASCAR driver Kenny

Wallace, a St. Louis native, threw out the first pitch.