MLB Insiders - Bennett on a Hitting Streak

Catcher Gary Bennett's two singles extended his hitting streak to five games. He is 11-for-16 in that stretch.

Cardinals fans may have seen the last of left-hander Mark Mulder in the rotation for the rest of the season, and they probably won't be seeing too much of center fielder Jim Edmonds either.

Mulder, making his second start since coming off the disabled list after a shoulder problem, was no better Tuesday night against the Marlins than he had been the week before against the Mets. After allowing nine runs while recording only nine outs against New York, Mulder gave up five runs while getting just five outs Tuesday in a 9-1 thrashing by the Marlins, who won their ninth in a row.

"He couldn't make a pitch with two outs," manager Tony La Russa said. "One pitch and you're out of the inning."

All five Florida runs came with two outs. The next start for Mulder (6-7) is scheduled for Sunday, but it seems more likely that right-hander Josh Hancock, who pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief Tuesday, or right-hander Anthony Reyes, if recalled from Triple-A Memphis, would get that start.

"I don't think this is the time to break it down, to analyze it," La Russa said. "We've got to do some reflecting and decide what we saw. What we needed for him to do was move forward. Before the game, I said I was looking for some progress. We'll discuss whether that was made or not."

Edmonds, after consulting with team doctors, admitted he was still having serious issues relative to his post-concussion syndrome, and there now appears no timetable at all as to when he might play again. He has struck out five times and walked once in his last six plate appearances, and he last started a game Friday.

Juan Encarnacion is likely to play center field for much of the remainder of the season. Edmonds has a $10 million club option for 2007, which probably will turn into a $3 million buyout.

REPLAY: After giving up one run in the first inning Tuesday, Mark Mulder was tagged for four runs in the second by the Marlins. Mulder retired only nine of 14 batters he faced in a 9-1 loss. The Cardinals did almost nothing against Florida lefty Scott Olsen. After Preston Wilson opened the Cardinals' first with a home run, St. Louis had three other hits, all singles (two by Gary Bennett), and a walk. All four runners were swallowed up in double plays.

NOTES

--SS Aaron Miles, pulled early in a double switch, saw his hitting streak end at seven games.

--LHP Mark Mulder's 1 2/3-inning outing was his shortest of the season. He suffered his third consecutive loss.

--RF Preston Wilson's first-inning homer was his first homer to open a game. It was also the Cardinals' first leadoff homer this season.

--The Cardinals will have a losing August, just as they had a losing June. They are 11-15 in August with two games left. St. Louis didn't have a losing month in either 2004 or 2005.


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