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Dunn's homers help Reds beat up on Mulder

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Even when he struggled, St. Louis left-hander
Mark Mulder could count on getting left-handed batters out. Now,
even that is not a sure thing.

The slumping Mulder gave up two home runs to left-hander Adam
Dunn and a two-run double to Ken Griffey Jr., another left-hander,
as Cincinnati scored seven runs in the first three innings and held
on for a 7-6 win on Wednesday.

"My location's been terrible," said Mulder (8-5), who is 1-4
in his last five starts. "On and off, it's been like that all
year. It's getting to be frustrating. I'm not finishing pitches."

Left-hander Sean Casey also had two hits against Mulder, who
went into the game allowing left-handers to bat just .125 against
him. Dunn's home runs were the first Mulder allowed to left-handers
all season.

"He was having location problems, and they capitalized,"
manager Tony La Russa said.

Mulder, who was acquired from Oakland in an offseason trade,
allowed season highs of 12 hits and seven runs in four innings. His
previous season highs were 11 hits, by the Reds in his 6-5 loss on
April 13, and six runs by Cincinnati and two other teams.

Dunn led off the second and third innings with home runs and
moved into a tie for the NL lead with his 19th and 20th home runs.
The Reds jumped out to a 7-0 lead while improving to 2-0 under
interim manager Jerry Narron, who was promoted from bench coach on
Tuesday to replace the fired Dave Miley.

"I told [Dunn] if he hits three, he's leading off Friday,"
Narron said.

Dunn struck out leading off the fifth inning.

Reds starter Ramon Ortiz (3-5) didn't allow a hit in his first
career appearance against St. Louis until Mark Grudzielanek led off
the fifth with his seventh home run of the season. Ortiz gave up
five hits and three runs in seven innings for his second win in his
last three starts.

"I feel good," Ortiz said. "I had a good breaking pitch, a
good changeup, a good slider, and a good fastball, inside and
outside. When your team scores seven runs, that's very good. When
they score runs for you, you have to go get it. You have to throw
strikes and make your pitch."

The Cardinals scored three runs in the eighth inning to cut the
lead to 7-6 before David Weathers pitched out of trouble. He went 1
2/3 innings before Kent Mercker struck out Jim Edmonds with a
slider for the final out in the ninth and his first save in three
tries.

"Our bullpen stopped the bleeding, and we kept plugging," La
Russa said. "We had a good-looking rally, but they made pitches
when they had to. Weathers got the outs they needed and Mercker
made his pitches."

The save was Mercker's first since Aug. 27, 2003, for Atlanta
against the New York Mets.

"The infamous backdoor slider," Mercker said. "If you can
learn how to throw that pitch, you can make a lot of money. He's a
guy you want to stay away from, but you'd better make sure it's
down."

"I like Mercker and Weathers at the end," Narron said. "They
give you everything they've got, they battle, and they don't beat
themselves."

Joe Randa gave the Reds a 1-0 lead by driving in Rich Aurilia
from second base with a two-out single in the first. Mulder gave up
three hits in the inning, which matched the total he gave up over
seven shutout innings in the Cardinals' 7-3 win over the Reds on
May 4.

Dunn sparked Cincinnati's four-run second by leading off with
his 19th homer. Aurilia added an RBI single and Griffey hit a
two-run double to the base of the center-field fence.

Dunn led off the third inning with his second homer, giving him
four multihomer games this season and 13 in his career. Jason LaRue
followed with a single, moved to third on Ortiz's double and scored
on Aurilia's one-out single to center.

The Cardinals added two runs after Grudzielanek's homer in the
fifth.

Game notes
Dunn's homers gave him six this season off left-handers,
including his last three. The left-handed hitter went into the game
hitting .162 against left-handers. ... Randa extended his hitting
streak to eight games (10-for-29, .345). ... Ortiz's double was his
second career hit and first for extra bases in 42 at-bats. ...
Edmonds started for the first time on the nine-game road trip and
extended his hitting streak to five games (7-for-19, .368). He
missed the previous eight games with a hairline fracture of his
left middle rib. ... The Cardinals had won six consecutive series
before dropping two of three on this road trip.