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Edmonds, Mulder power Cards past D-backs

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Mark Mulder was kicking himself in the dugout
for giving up a game-tying home run in the fifth inning when Jim
Edmonds came to his rescue.

Edmonds hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning,
restoring order for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5-3 victory over
the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.

"I'll tell you what, I'm going to be a pretty good pitcher when
I quit giving up homers," Mulder said. "It's one or two mistakes
a game and they're hitting every one of them, but you know what,
Jimmy picked me up."

Mulder has given up three game-tying homers in middle to late
portions of games. He's allowed a team-high eight homers in 52 2-3
innings.

Albert Pujols drove in his major league-leading 44th run and
David Eckstein singled twice for his 15th multihit game. The
Cardinals have won six of seven overall and are 13-4 against the
Diamondbacks the last four seasons.

Edmonds, who drove in three runs, has gotten off to a slow start
both in the field and at the plate. He entered the game hitting
.243, but is 6-for-15 with five RBI in his last five games and has
hit in eight straight overall. He had a sacrifice fly off Juan Cruz
(1-1) in the first after Pujols' RBI single, and his fifth homer
snapped a 2-all tie in the fifth.

"I've been feeling pretty good all year but just haven't been
getting hits," Edmonds told reporters. "I know you guys like to
talk about all the stats and trying to jinx me.

"I'm just trying to contribute and stay in the lineup until I
can get above the water."

Mulder (4-1) gave up six hits in six innings, the only damage
Eric Byrnes' two-run homer in the fifth. Those are the only runs
Mulder has allowed the Diamondbacks in three starts covering 24
innings, the first two appearances producing a one-hitter in 2001
when he was with the Athletics and a second shutout last year.

Mulder said he was trying to bust Byrnes with an inside fastball
that drifted over the plate.

"It seemed like he didn't get many up, but I was able to take
advantage of that one," Byrnes said. "There's a reason he's won
so many games, he's an unbelievable pitcher."

Jason Isringhausen gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Johnny
Estrada in the ninth before finishing for his 11th save in 13
chances and sending the Diamondbacks to their third loss in four
games after a seven-game winning streak.

Mulder is 81-11 in 108 career starts with four or more runs
support. His 92 victories since 2001 lead the majors, and the
Cardinals have won seven of his eight starts this season.

The Cardinals opened the first with singles by Eckstein, John
Rodriguez and Pujols followed by Edmonds' sacrifice fly for a 2-0
lead.

Cruz, who gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings, hit
Pujols with one out in the fifth. Edmonds homered on a 2-0 pitch,
sending Cruz to his first loss as a starter since Sept. 19, 2003,
at Pittsburgh.

"I was behind in the count and I just threw an off-speed pitch
and he is a good hitter," Cruz said. "You saw it. He just got
it."

The Cardinals made it 5-2 in the sixth when Rodriguez beat out a
potential double play ball after singles by pinch-hitter Larry
Bigbie and Eckstein put runners on first and third.

Byrnes also singled and is batting .410 (16-for-39) in his last
10 games.

Game notes
Former St. Louis Hawks NBA stars Bob Pettit and Ed Macauley
were honored in a pre-game ceremony. ... Cruz hit two batters after
entering the game having hit that many in his first 22 innings this
season. ... The Cardinals are 15-5 at new Busch Stadium, all of
them sellouts. ... Eckstein is 8-for-16 his last four games. ...
Chad Tracy, who was 5-for-7 the first two games of a five-game trip
for Arizona, was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. ... Arizona's Conor
Jackson singled in the fourth and is batting .353 (18-for-51)
during a 12-game hitting streak.