MLB Insiders - Luna Taking Over at Second?

Hector Luna appears to have taken over as the regular second baseman. The right-handed-batting Luna, playing Thursday against a right-hander while switch-hitting Aaron Miles sat, had a hit and two walks. Luna was 10-for-23 (.435) on the road trip.

Cardinals left-hander Mark Mulder came to the right place to gain his first win since May 17 after having given up 28 hits and 22 runs over 14 innings in his last three starts.

Mulder was far from brilliant Thursday at PNC Park, where he had been 3-0 with a 1.22 ERA. But, though he gave up four runs, he lasted five innings, just long enough to gain credit for a 6-5 victory.

Mulder twice gave up leads with solo homers to the first hitter he faced in the next inning. But a three-pronged bullpen corps of Adam Wainwright, Braden Looper and Jason Isringhausen (save No. 22) worked the last four innings in mostly strong fashion, with only Wainwright staggering a bit. Wainwright gave up a solo homer to pinch hitter Jeromy Burnitz in the sixth and than loaded the bases in the seventh but got out of that jam.

REPLAY: The Cardinals edged the Pirates 6-5 Thursday to win their second series on the six-game trip to Milwaukee and Pittsburgh by a 2-1 count. A lot of it had to do with rookie Chris Duncan, who tripled to key a two-run fourth and doubled to spark a two-run fifth. He also singled for a career-high three-hit game.

"I was able to get into some good hitter's counts," said the son of pitching coach Dave Duncan. "I was able to get ahead, and then I got the pitches I was looking for."

Scott Rolen, who has knocked in 14 runs in 10 games since Albert Pujols got hurt, blooped a run-scoring single for the Cardinals' sixth run in the sixth inning.

NOTES

--RF Juan Encarnacion shot his average above the .270 mark (.272) for the first time this season with another two-hit game. He was 13-for-26 on the six-game road trip.

--C Gary Bennett handled LHP Mark Mulder for the first time this season. Mulder allowed his 15th and 16th home runs but walked only two while fanning six.

--The Cardinals return home only for three games (against Colorado) before going on a weeklong trip to meet the White Sox and the Tigers, who have the best records in the American League.

--RHP Jason Isringhausen has the major league lead in saves and has missed on just four of 26 opportunities.


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