Mark Mulder’s frustrating month ended with a solid 6 1/3-inning performance and a 2-1 win over the Reds. The Cardinals’ starter was 1-4 in his last five decisions, but on Tuesday he held the Reds in check by allowing one run off seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts to improve to 9-5.

Joe Randa earned an RBI single off Mulder in the top of the first for the Reds’ only run. Reggie sanders blasted a two-run shot in the bottom of the first to drive in what proved to be the game-winning run for St. Louis. It was Sanders’ 16th home run of the season. The Cardinals had just four hits on the night.

Brad Thompson, Ray King, Julian Tavarez and Jason Isringhausen finished out the game. Isringhausen worked around a walk in the ninth inning to earn his 22nd save.

The Cardinals are 48-28 on the season and lead the Cubs by eight and a half games in the National League Central.