Mark Mulder overcame a sub-par start to stay unbeaten in his career against the Pirates. Chris Duncan took three straight strikes with the bases loaded and two outs before getting two big hits and helping the Cardinals beat Pittsburgh 6-5.
Mulder’s fourth pitch of the game was sent over the center field fence by Jose Bautista. That was after the Cardinals scored a run in the top half of the inning and could’ve gotten more. David Ecktein and So Taguchi led off the game quietly for St. Louis flying out and striking out respectively. Scott Rolen was hit by a pitch and Jim Edmonds singled before Juan Encarnacion’s RBI single scored Rolen. Hector Luna walked to load the bases. Rookie Chris Duncan had a chance to break things open early but struck out swinging on three straight pitches.
St. Louis trailed by one run twice in the game. They were able to put together rallies in both occasions. The Pirates took a 2-1 lead into the fourth inning before the Cardinals answered with two runs. Just as fast as they took the lead, Mulder gave it right back. Jose Castillo led off the bottom of the fourth homering on the first pitch. A Victor Santos sacrifice moved Humberto Cota to second. Bautista drove in Cota with a double to deep right field.
Mulder exited the game after the fifth and gave way to reliever Adam Wainright. Things were rocky for Wainright in his two innings of work. He only allowed one run, a home run to pinch hitter Jeromy Burnitz, but loaded the bases before working out of it.
Closer Jason Isringhausen put the tying run on base but was bale to get Jason Bay to hit into a game-ending double play. Isringhausen leads the National League with 22 saves.
Bautista got hits in his first three at bats finishing 3-for-5 and falling a triple short of the cycle.
The Cardinals salvaged some hope they can play without injured slugger Albert Pujols going 4-2 on the road trip. They improved to 39-26 and have 2.5 game lead over the Reds in the National League Central.