Hudson, Mulder struggle as Cardinals edge Braves
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Some things just do not turn out as expected.
The matchup between former teammates
did not live up to its billing, but
belted a two-run homer in the fifth inning to snap a tie and lift the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-5 triumph over the
Along with 2002 American League Cy Young Award winner
, Hudson and Mulder helped form the "Big Three" of the
' staff for five seasons. However, both were unloaded during the offseason, with Hudson being traded to Atlanta and Mulder sent packing to St. Louis two days afterward.
Both pitchers got off to good starts with their new teams as Hudson allowed a total of three runs in 28 innings over his first four starts with the Braves and Mulder rebounded from two unimpressive outings by yielding just an unearned run in his last two efforts, including a 10-inning shutout against Houston on Saturday.
"You guys (in the media) care more than we do about a good pitching matchup," Pujols said. "They're good pitchers, we're good hitters. That's why anything can happen in this game."
Several things happened early in this one as neither starter was sharp. Hudson surpassed his season total by surrendering four runs in the first inning and Mulder allowed Atlanta to tie the game by the third.
"I think both of us can say we're not very happy with our starts tonight," Hudson said. "You have to make pitches on them. I didn't do that early."
"So much for a pitchers' duel," Mulder added. "It was a battle. I would make two or three bad pitches in a row and then I'd make a great pitch for a double play. I was leaving everything up, especially in the first inning."
's leadoff double in the fifth, Pujols belted a shot over the right-center field wall, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and giving the Cardinals a 6-4 bulge.
"(It was a) sinker away," Hudson said of the pitch to Pujols. "It came over the plate, up a little bit. He's a guy you've got to mix it up (against), in and out."
"I don't know. I just see it and I hit it," Pujols said.
Hudson (2-1) lasted just six innings, allowing six runs, nine hits and two walks with three strikeouts. The righthander, whose ERA rose from 0.96 to 2.38, yielded six earned runs or more just five times in 61 starts during his last two seasons with Oakland.
Despite notching his third straight win, Mulder (3-1) surrendered five runs, eight hits and two walks with one wild pitch. The lefthander, who struck out three, improved to 67-5 when receiving at least four runs of support.
Hudson and Mulder were more enamored with their meeting at the plate than the encounter on the mound. Hudson went 0-for-2 and Mulder was hitless in three at-bats, with both striking out once.
"He made me feel like a little girl," said Hudson, whose bat landed in the stands during his second-inning strikeout. "But it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be."
"It was fun," Mulder said. "I was happy when he threw the bat out there. It was funny."
combined for 1 2/3 scoreless innings,
retired pinch hitter
for his first save since July 2001.
Walker scored two runs,
drove in a pair and
collected three hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, who have won 12 of their last 14 games.
launched a two-run homer and
went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, giving him eight multi-hit performances in his last 12 games. Jordan's blast was his 36th at Turner Field, moving him past
for fourth place.