Cardinals 7, Marlins 6

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MIAMI (AP) – Mark Mulder pitched six innings for his 100th career victory, and the St. Louis Cardinals totaled 14 hits against Dontrelle Willis and three relievers to beat the Florida Marlins 7-6 Saturday night.

St. Louis nearly blew a 7-0 lead. Florida scored three runs in the fifth inning, then added three in the eighth on Josh Willingham’s seventh home run and a two-run single by Hanley Ramirez.

Jason Isringhausen struck out Dan Uggla with two on to end the inning, then worked the ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances.

Mulder (3-1) allowed three runs, drove in a run with a double and improved his career record to 100-51. He has 91 wins since 2001, the most in the major leagues.

Willis (1-3) lasted only 4 2-3 innings while giving up a career-high 12 hits – including four doubles and a triple – and seven runs, six earned. In his past two starts he has allowed 14 earned runs, hiking his ERA to 5.15.

The Marlins fell to 2-8 in one-run games, and they’ve lost nine consecutive home games, two shy of the club record set in 1999.

The Cardinals, who came to town saddled with a four-game losing streak, will try for a three-game series sweep Sunday. They have won their past four series in Miami.

Florida limited major league home-run leader Albert Pujols to a single in five at-bats, leaving him 4-for-19 this week. But former Marlin Juan Encarnacion hit a two-run triple, Scott Rolen went 3-for-5 and Jim Edmonds went 2-for-2 with two walks and a sacrifice fly.

St. Louis, which scored seven runs in the fifth to break open Friday’s game, this time scored five in the fifth.

Hector Luna led off the inning with a double, Pujols singled and both scored on Encarnacion’s triple. Edmonds hit a sacrifice fly, So Taguchi singled, and Yadier Molina and Mulder hit back-to-back RBI doubles to make it 7-0 and end Willis’ night after 103 pitches.

Willis was on the verge of escaping from a bases-loaded jam in the second, but an 0-2 pitch to Mulder eluded catcher Miguel Olivo for a passed ball and an unearned run. Mulder struck out on the next pitch to end the inning.

Rolen singled to start the fourth, and Edmonds singled by throwing his bat at a 1-2 pitch. Rolen scored on an RBI groundout by Taguchi, which third baseman Miguel Cabrera mishandled for his eighth error.

Willis retired the next three batters to keep the score at 2-0 – but only until the next inning.

Mulder took a shutout into the fifth before Florida scored three times on an RBI double by Ramirez and a two-run double by Cabrera.

Notes: Mulder, who gave up eight runs in his only previous game against Florida, lowered his ERA versus the Marlins to 10.24. … The game was Willis’ 100th career start. His record fell to 47-30. … Former Florida manager Jack McKeon is attending the series – his first appearance at the Marlins’ stadium since he quit after last season.

AP-ES-05-06-06 2121EDT

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