ST. LOUIS, SEPT. 21 -- St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith always seems to do something amazing in the field to keep his team in a game or a pennant race. This year, he is doing some impressive things at the plate.

Entering tonight's game against Philadelphia, Smith had more RBI this year than Ryne Sandberg, Leon Durham, Jeffrey Leonard, Buddy Bell, Sid Bream, Glenn Wilson or Jody Davis.

"Well, look at it this way," Smith said. "Almost every time I'm getting to the plate, I've got a guy in scoring position. Vince {Coleman} leads off with a walk or hit, steals second and there I am. I'm proud of the numbers but only as they pertain to helping the team."

Smith, a perennial Gold Glove winner, also has been his team's most consistent hitter, batting around .300. The Cardinals have played only .500 ball since the all-star break, in part because of inconsistent hitting. Smith has missed just 10 starts during a season when injuries have ravaged the Cardinals' lineup and pitching rotation.

"I think I have improved, learned as a hitter," he said. "For quite a while in my career, I was the No. 8 hitter and you didn't get as many RBI chances. Now that I'm up to No. 2, I've used that knowledge and the patience to become a better hitter."

Having 70 RBI and no home runs is significant. It means Smith is parlaying singles and doubles into run-producing hits. He is also approaching another mark -- 100 runs scored.

Smith's last homer in October 1985 beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the National League playoffs.

He is looking to return the Cardinals to postseason play in 1987 as St. Louis tries to hold off the New York Mets and Montreal Expos.

"That's what it's all about," he said. "Not the stats or the honors, but getting back to the playoffs. Everyone on this club has contributed. I'm glad I'm doing it offensively as well as with the glove."

St. Louis is hoping to get back Jack Clark, their leader in RBI and home runs, for next week's season-ending series with Montreal and the Mets. Clark took batting practice last weekend, but his ankle has been too sore for pinch-hitting.