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It was a dominating night for some of the Atlanta Braves' lesser-known pitchers.

Terry Mulholland and three relievers combined for 14 strikeouts and retired the last 16 batters Friday night in a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bret Boone singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning as the Braves extended their winning streak to a season-high eight games.

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Game Summary

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  • "This team is starting to get excited about things," Boone said."We're in a great race; we're in a tight race."

    Russ Springer (2-1) struck out two in a hitless eighth and John Rocker struck out the side in the ninth for his 29th save in 34 chances.

    Seven of the last nine Cardinals went down on strikes, and 10 of the final 16. St. Louis has struck out 961 times, the most in the majors.

    "Everybody's not going up there trying to strike out," said Joe McEwing, who fanned in the ninth.

    Mulholland pitched well for the second straight start, giving up one run and eight hits in six innings while striking out a season-high seven. He has allowed three runs in 14 innings in the last two outings but has a pair of no-decisions.

    "I've got a lot to show for it two wins for our ballclub," Mulholland said. "They didn't get me over here to get me in the Hall of Fame, they got me to get in the playoffs and go to the World Series."

    Atlanta began the night 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place New York in the NL East. St. Louis has lost four straight for the first time this season and six of seven.

    Former Crdinal Brian Jordan, making his first trip to St. Louis since signing with the Braves last November, scored the run after entering as a pinch runner.

    "My job was easy," Jordan said.

    With the score 1-all, Greg Myers singled off Juan Acevedo (5-5) with one out in the ninth and Jordan ran for him, advancing to second on a groundout.

    Second baseman Joe McEwing made a diving stop on Gerald Williams' grounder up the middle, holding Jordan at third on the infield hit. Boone followed with a single to right.

    Mark McGwire was 1-for-4 with three strikeouts and remained at 51 homers, two behind Sammy Sosa, the major league leader.

    Mulholland was subbing for 16-game winner Greg Maddux, sidelined by a chipped bone in his right wrist.

    Cardinals starter Garrett Stephenson allowed one run and five hits in eight innings but walked five. He threw 123 pitches, 72 in the first four innings.

    "I wasn't real wild, I was just off the plate," Stephenson said. "I tried to stay in as many innings as I could."

    Chipper Jones hit an RBI groundout in the first, but Fernando Tatis tied it with a third-inning single that scored Edgar Renteria, who went 3-for-4.

    Notes

  • Atlanta pitchers struck out 14.
  • Renteria is 6-for-10 for his career against Mulholland.
  • Andruw Jones singled in the eighth and is 21-for-56 (.375) during a career-best 14-game hitting streak.
  • Stephenson is 3-0 with a 1.36 ERA in five starts since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Aug. 6. He had two complete-game victories against the Braves in 1997, when he was with the Phillies.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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