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Mulder dominates as Cards squeak past Trachsel, Mets

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matching zeros with the Mets' Steve Trachsel,
Mark Mulder found his stride.

Mulder threw 8 1-3 scoreless innings and Jason Isringhausen
worked out of a jam in the ninth to preserve the St. Louis
Cardinals' 1-0 victory over New York on Wednesday night.

"I used to say this when I was in Oakland: I actually like
close games," Mulder said. "It keeps me focused.

"Sometimes when the team isn't scoring runs it's easier to
focus because you know one mistake can cost you the game."

Mulder (5-1) won his third straight start and had two of the
Cardinals' four hits in seven innings against Trachsel, with
singles in the fifth and seventh. Scott Rolen doubled in a run in
the sixth inning.

Mulder departed after the Mets loaded the bases with one out in
the ninth. With speedster Jose Reyes at third, Isringhausen struck
out David Wright, then got Cliff Floyd to ground out to first for
his 12th save in 14 chances.

"Just a lazy fly ball in the outfield, Reyes is going to score
from third," Isringhausen said. "You know that. All I was trying
to do was keep the ball on the ground, and hopefully get a double
play."

Rolen was only 4-for-28 in the first eight games of a nine-game
homestand before his two-out double to the gap in left-center off
Trachsel (2-4) broke up a scoreless game. Albert Pujols drew a
one-out walk and scored without a play to give him 40 runs in the
first 40 games.

"It was a good pitch," Trachsel said. "I saw it on replay and
it was even better than I thought it was.

"He's a good RBI guy, tip your hat to him."

Pujols, who was 0-for-3 a day after taking a nasty spill while
chasing a foul pop that landed him flat on his back, is the first
player to reach that run total so quickly since Floyd and Todd
Helton in 2001. Pujols wore a guard on his left leg after a fouling
a ball off his shin in another mishap on Tuesday.

The Cardinals are 16-5 against the Mets the last four seasons
and they're 17-7 at new Busch Stadium, rebounding after losing the
last two.

"We had our shot, no other way to look at it," Mets manager
Willie Randolph said. "At the end of the game we had the bases
loaded with our best hitters up there.

"Good pitching all the way around."

Wright had his second straight two-hit game for the Mets off
Mulder, who struck out five and walked two. The Mets threatened in
the fifth with runners on first and third with one out, started by
Wright's leadoff double, but Kaz Matsui popped out and Trachsel
flied out to center on a 3-2 pitch after being ahead 3-0 in the
count.

Mulder worked past the sixth for the first time in four starts
this month and is 4-0 at home with a 2.72 ERA. He leads
left-handers with 53 victories the last four seasons, one more than
the Twins' Johan Santana.

This was only his second start without giving up a homer. He's
given up eight to tie for the staff high with Jason Marquis.

"Well, I pitched a little better, too," Mulder said. "I felt
comfortable out there. It wasn't one thing, I was just making
better pitches."

Trachsel allowed one run and four hits in his longest outing of
the year. Trachsel, who struck out two and walked three, has lost
three of his last four starts.

The Mets haven't scored a run for him the last two games, also
losing 2-0 in a rain-shortened five-inning game May 11 at
Philadelphia.

Game notes
Trachsel retired the side in order in the first inning for
the first time all season, then followed with a perfect second. He
had no perfect innings in his three previous starts. ... Trachsel
is 9-9 for his career against the Cardinals, but hasn't beaten them
since Sept. 22, 1999, when he was with the Cubs. ... Mulder has
four career two-hit games and is 5-for-18 (.278) this season after
batting .145 last year. ... The Cardinals' last 1-0 victory was
April 23, 2005, in 10 innings, with Mulder outdueling the Astros'
Roger Clemens. The Mets last 1-0 defeat was Sept. 19, 2004, at
Pittsburgh, one of three 1-0 losses that season.