INSIDERS - Mulder Returns and Gives Up 9 Runs

Left-hander Mark Mulder picked up where he left off on June 20. Unfortunately for the Cardinals veteran recovering from a shoulder impingement, that meant giving up nine runs in very short order.

After allowing nine runs in 2 1/3 innings against the White Sox in his last start before going on the disabled list, Mulder wasn't much better Wednesday night against the Mets, allowing nine runs in three innings of a 10-8 loss.

Mulder, making his first start in more than two months, didn't throw any pitch faster than 89 mph and had little command, especially with his curveball, which he either threw into the dirt or hung -- as when Jose Reyes banged a three-run homer in the third inning.

Mulder (6-6, 6.77 ERA) threw only 40 strikes out of 78 pitches before being replaced. Josh Hancock, Jorge Sosa, Braden Looper and Randy Flores combined for five innings of one-run ball, but it was too late.

Newcomers provided much of the Cardinals' late firepower. Shortstop Jose Vizcaino, signed earlier in the day after being let go by San Francisco, hit a two-run homer in his first start. And right fielder Preston Wilson, signed last week after Houston waived him, hit a solo homer and doubled in another run.

REPLAY: The Cardinals allowed 10 or more runs for the 17th time this season. After falling 8-7 Tuesday in the series opener against the Mets, the Cardinals lost 10-8 Wednesday. St. Louis' lead in the National League Central remained one game over Cincinnati.

Mark Mulder didn't engender any confidence after being out two months with a shoulder impingement. He gave up nine runs and nine hits, walking four, in three innings.

NOTES

--With the signing of 38-year-old INF Jose Vizcaino, the Cardinals finally placed SS David Eckstein, who has a left oblique strain, on the 15-day disabled list. Vizcaino hit .210 in 119 at-bats for San Francisco this year. The Eckstein transaction was made retroactive to Aug. 19.

--When LHP Mark Mulder was activated to pitch Wednesday night, OF Timo Perez was designated for assignment.

--It appears CF Jim Edmonds is about ready to return to at least semi-regular action after sitting out with post-concussion syndrome. Edmonds, who hasn't started in a week, pinch-hit in the seventh inning Wednesday and walked.


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