MLB Insiders - Weaver's Stock Rising

With Mark Mulder presumably about to come off the disabled list, there has been much speculation about which pitcher would come out of the rotation upon his return. It isn't likely to be Jeff Weaver.

Weaver tossed his third consecutive strong game Thursday and second against Cincinnati in the past 11 days when he held the Reds to three hits and one run, Ken Griffey's seventh-inning homer that capped a 12-pitch at-bat, over 7 1/3 innings. Weaver did not get the win -- that went to closer Jason Isringhausen, who worked a perfect ninth. But he didn't get the loss either, as Scott Rolen matched Griffey's homer with a solo blast of his own in the seventh.

Rolen then won the game with a single off Ryan Franklin in the ninth inning. That winning rally had been set up a single by Chris Duncan, who was 9-for-13 in the series, and a four-pitch walk to Albert Pujols, whom Franklin apparently wanted no part of.

The Cardinals are laboring, but they moved back to eight games over .500 and 2 1/2 games ahead of the chasing Reds in the National League Central. The teams are done playing for the season. The difference in this one probably was that the Reds had a waiver claim (Franklin) in the game at the end and the Cardinals had a multi-million dollar closer (Isringhausen).

REPLAY: Chris Duncan capped a three-hit day by scoring the winning run on Scott Rolen's single with no outs in the ninth inning as the Cardinals outlasted the Reds 2-1. St. Louis moved 2 1/2 games ahead of Cincinnati in the National League Central.

Jeff Weaver held the Reds to one run over 7 1/3 innings after a game in Cincinnati last week when he gave up only one run in six innings.

NOTES

--CF Jim Edmonds missed a second consecutive game with post-concussion syndrome. "The tests he has had have been all good," manager Tony La Russa said, "but he went out for another test just to make sure."

--OF Larry Bigbie has been pulled off a minor league rehabilitation assignment again because of abdominal discomfort. He had surgery for an umbilical hernia in June.

--The Cardinals raised their major league-best record in day games to 31-13, with the next three to be played in Wrigley Field, where they are 0-7 for the season.

--LF Chris Duncan is 18-for-33 (.545) in his last eight starts with six multi-hit games after his third consecutive three-hit game against the Reds on Thursday. Duncan finished the season 17-for-31 (.548) against Cincinnati.

--SS David Eckstein saw his hitting streak end at eight games when he went 0-for-4 Thursday.

--LHP Mark Mulder (left shoulder strain) was ineffective in his rehab start for Triple-A Memphis on Thursday. Mulder allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and five walks in four innings.


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