HOUSTON, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Woody Williams worked seven scoreless innings Saturday as the St. Louis Cardinals moved closer to winning the NL Central by holding on for a 2-1 victory over the Astros.
Injury-prone throughout his career, Williams endured a pair of stints on the disabled list this season, but has returned to the rotation for the stretch drive.
Williams (9-4) won his third straight start, limiting the Astros to five singles. The veteran righthander walked none and struck out two before departing after throwing 64 of 94 pitches for strikes.
Making a case to be the Cards' No. 2 starter behind Matt Morris in the postseason, Williams has allowed more than three runs just once in 16 starts.
Sparked by Williams, the Cards beat the Astros for the second straight day and moved 7 1/2 games in front of second-place Houston in the Central with 14 games left.
Steve Kline worked a perfect inning before Jason Isringhausen made things interesting in the ninth, when he allowed a run and two hits with two walks.
But with the bases loaded, Isringhausen got pinch-hitter Gregg Zaun to foul out to catcher Mike Matheny to end it for his second save in as many days and 31st of the season. Isringhausen has six saves against Houston.
Astros rookie Pete Munro (5-4) surrendered two runs and six hits in seven innings.