<
>

Pirates' Suppan tosses second shutout of season

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Pittsburgh's Jeff Suppan changed speeds effectively to shut out the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

Suppan pitched his third complete game and second shutout of the
season, leading the Pirates to a 3-0 win over the Cardinals. It was
just the third time this season the Cardinals, who lead the
National League in hitting with a team average of .288, have been
shut out.

"Today was just one of those days where I trying to change
speeds on everything," Suppan said. "I was trying to throw my
curveballs slower than slow. I kept my changeups down. I tried to
use my fastball effectively.

"I felt my control was consistent. I wasn't overthrowing. I
wasn't trying to throw my fastball as hard as I could."

Suppan (10-7) won his fifth consecutive decision, allowing seven
hits in pitching his fifth career shutout. He struck out five and
walked one in throwing 121 pitches. The 10 wins matched a career
high last set in 2001 when Suppan pitched for the Kansas City
Royals.

"He was outstanding," Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said
about Suppan. "He's our guy. When he goes out there, we always
feel like we have an outstanding chance to win."

Suppan credited his defense with helping him record the shutout.
In the first inning, center fielder Brian Giles made a diving catch
of a ball hit by J. D. Drew after Bo Hart hit a leadoff single.

"There was some tremendous defense out there," Suppan said.
"Giles, that play right there, set the tone right there because
our defense went all out to make a play. I tried to use my defense.
I wanted to stay out there as long as I could and be as effective
as I could be."

Brett Tomko (6-7) gave up three runs on eight hits in seven
innings. Tomko remained winless at Busch Stadium. In 10 home
starts, he is 0-4. Tomko leads in the National League in hits
allowed with 177 and runs allowed with 93 and is tied for second in
the league with 24 home runs allowed.

"It would have been nice to get a win," Tomko said. "I've
gone on the road and given up five runs and gotten wins. I give up
three today and don't get a win. I just think it's something for
you guys (the media) to have fun with."

Reggie Sanders gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead in the second inning
for his team-leading 18th home run. Matt Stairs, playing his
1,000th major league game, led off with a double. Sanders then hit
a 2-0 pitch 449 feet into the upper deck in left field. In the four
games series with St. Louis, Sanders had a double, a triple and two
homers for five RBI.

"It was a slider that he left out over the plate," Sanders
said about the pitch he hit from Tomko. "It was a pitch I could
handle."

Tomko agreed.

"I didn't get it in the right spot," Tomko said. "Any time
you throw a 2-0 slider, even if it's not in a great spot, you don't
expect him to hit the ball like that. But I can't take it back now.
I made the pitch and he hit it so it's over with."

The Pirates added another run in the fifth. Jason Kendall drew a
leadoff walk and advanced on a sacrifice by Abraham Nunez. After
Giles popped out, Stairs singled home Kendall.

"I hadn't really swung the bat well the whole series and then I
get that timely hit," Stairs said. "That was nice."

The Cardinals had only two scoring opportunities. St. Louis had
runners on first and second with one out in the first inning and
first and third with two out in the third but failed to score both
times.

"Suppan, every time he needed it, he just made outstanding
pitches," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "He just carved
us up. It was very effective high-quality work."
^Notes@: Albert Pujols' first-inning single extended his hitting
streak to 12 games, tying his season high. Pujols leads the majors
with a .376 average... Stairs became the 11th Canadian to play
1,000 games in the big leagues ... The Cardinals had their first
passed ball of the season when catcher Mike Matheny let a ball get
by him in the fourth inning. The Cardinals were the last team in
the majors not to have had a passed ball ... St. Louis C Eli
Marrero has begun running as he rehabilitates the ruptured ligament
in his lower right leg that he hurt May 12 in Chicago. ... After
going 1-for-9 in his last two games, Randall Simon went 3-for-4
with a double for the Pirates.

MLB News