PITTSBURGH -- Mark Mulder finally ended a slide that began late last season. The Pittsburgh Pirates only wish they could.
Mulder, the Cardinals' top offseason pickup, halted a personal nine-game winless streak by allowing two hits over eight innings to lead the Cardinals past the struggling Pirates 11-1 Monday night.
The Cardinals broke open a 2-1 game with nine runs in the ninth against relievers Brian Meadows and Ryan Vogelsong to win their fourth in a row. Pittsburgh lost its fourth in five games and its eighth consecutive to St. Louis since last season.
The Pirates have scored a major league-low 38 runs and have been limited to three runs or fewer in 10 of 13 games. They have dropped 37 of 55 dating to late August -- about the time Mulder recorded his last win before Monday.
Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon held a brief team meeting to instruct his players to ignore the negative talk that's been building during their 4-9 start.
"The talk shows are going to say I'm a (bad) manager and should be fired and the team played (bad)," McClendon said. "That I'm a (bad) manager and they're (bad) players. But we've played only 13 games ... and we've got to stick together and play hard and work hard and, a week from now, they won't remember this. We'll win five or six in a row and they'll call it a miracle."
Jim Edmonds homered and So Taguchi tripled during a two-run second against Dave Williams (1-1) and the Cardinals also benefited from some bad Pirates baserunning -- even if it did account for their only run.
The left-handed Mulder (1-1), formerly one of Oakland's Big Three rotation of Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, was roughed up for 10 earned runs in 11 innings in his first two Cardinals starts. That poor performance was an extension of a late-season slump last year when he went 0-4 in his final seven starts, before he was dealt to St. Louis.
But Mulder didn't allow a runner until walking Daryle Ward to start the fifth or a hit until Freddy Sanchez followed with a single under third baseman Scott Rolen's glove.
"I've felt better every start, and this wasn't that much different from my last start," Mulder said. "Lately when I've made a mistake, they're hit. Today I didn't make as many mistakes and when I did, they didn't hurt."
Mulder struck out two and walked three in his first victory since a 6-2 decision over Baltimore on Aug. 24.
"I think you saw more of what he's capable of doing," manager Tony La Russa said. "The ball had good life, he had a bunch of ways to get hitters out. He needed some success and that's what happened. He got his first win and now we'll see if he can build on that."
Later in the fifth, Ward appeared to be out by 10 feet while trying to score on David Ross' medium-range fly ball to left, but Ward's hard slide knocked the ball out of catcher Yadier Molina's glove.
A similar gamble didn't work nearly as well an inning later. Matt Lawton, who had walked, tried to score the tying run from first on Craig Wilson's double, but was thrown out easily by left fielder Reggie Sanders.
The nine-run ninth started after left fielder Craig Wilson allowed pinch-hitter Larry Walker's line drive to bounce past him for an RBI double. Wilson was not given an error. David Eckstein added a run-scoring infield single, Taguchi had a two-run single -- he finished with three RBI -- and pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno had a three-run double.
"It was a great game for 8 1/3 innings, until things fell apart," McClendon said. "The next thing you knew, they'd scored 10 runs."
Meadows disliked that the Pirates wasted Williams' excellent start, two runs and six hits allowed in six innings.
"Everything seems to be going against us," Meadows said. "It's a 162-game season, but we've got to turn things around before it really gets bad."
Mulder was 0-5 with an 8.28 ERA during his nine-game winless streak. He is 3-0 in three career starts against Pittsburgh. ... The Cardinals' Albert Pujols went 0-for-4. He has 14 homers and 42 RBI in 34 career games at PNC Park. ... An 0-for-15 slide dropped Molina's average to .032 until he singled in his final three at-bats. ... The Cardinals won 12 of 17 from the Pirates last season, seven of 10 in PNC Park. ... The nine-run ninth was the biggest against Pittsburgh since a 10-run Cardinals inning on Aug. 19, 2003. The pennant-winning Cardinals' biggest inning last season while leading the NL in scoring was six runs, on multiple occasions.