AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 ST. LOUIS – When Mark Mulder took a line drive off his arm in the second inning and doubled over in pain, the St. Louis Cardinals figured it would be a short outing for their 16-game winner. Instead, Mulder shook off the hard shot to his left biceps from Joe Randa – the same way he tossed aside a pair of poor tuneup starts – and put his team on the brink of a playoff sweep. Mulder pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and the Cardinals once again built an early lead, beating the San Diego Padres 6-2 on Thursday for a 2-0 edge in their best-of-five NL Division Series. “Once the inning starts there’s so much adrenalin it didn’t bother me much,” Mulder said. “If I couldn’t have made good pitches I would have said ‘All right, I’ve had enough.’ “I didn’t want to come out of that game.” Matt Morris will try to clinch it for St. Louis on Saturday at San Diego against Woody Williams. Mulder was with the Oakland A’s when they squandered a 2-0 lead against the Red Sox in 2003. “We held home-field advantage,” Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein said. “One thing we’ve got to do, we’ve got to stay aggressive. We can’t wait to get over there.” The Cardinals, who led the majors with 100 wins this season, have advanced to the NL Championship Series four times in five chances under manager Tony La Russa. San Diego, which limped into the playoffs with an 82-80 record, hasn’t shown any signs of stopping them. “We’ve put pressure on that team, we just haven’t come up with the big hit yet,” Brian Giles said. “We’re playing for our lives now.” The 2003 Red Sox were the last of the seven teams that have rallied from a 2-0 deficit in division series play. Mulder was 16-8 in his first season since being acquired from Oakland, but gave up seven earned runs over 5 innings in two starts after the Cardinals clinched the NL Central. Plus, the lefty was a decidedly better pitcher at night (14-3, 2.26 ERA) than day (2-5, 6.86). The Cardinals’ first four runs came on balls that didn’t leave the infield – or in one case, even the catcher’s glove. Eckstein had a run-scoring groundout and a squeeze bunt, Yadier Molina had an RBI grounder and Albert Pujols drew a bases-loaded walk to finish Pedro Astacio after four innings. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!