Colorado (34-33) at St. Louis (40-26)

Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 39° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Sat Jun 17, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Jeff Suppan pitches anything like Jason Marquis did in the series opener, the Colorado Rockies could be in for a long Saturday night.

The Cardinals (40-26) seek their fourth straight win over the Rockies when the teams continue their three-game set at Busch Stadium.

Marquis won his sixth consecutive decision by allowing one run and five hits over eight innings in an 8-1 win Friday, improving him to 9-4.

St. Louis pulled away with a six-run eighth inning that was highlighted by a two-run single by Hector Luna, who replaced David Eckstein at shortstop just before the game.

Eckstein was scratched due to a mild concussion suffered Thursday at Pittsburgh.

“I wanted to play tonight,” Eckstein said. “The only reason I said anything tonight was because my wife told me to. I want to play, but we just want to be cautious, because of the nature.”

Eckstein, among the league leaders in batting average (.322) and hits (86), said he didn’t know whether he would be able to play Saturday. He is scheduled to be re-examined.

Suppan (5-4, 5.35 ERA) has been very consistent for the Cardinals in his two-plus seasons, winning 16 games in both 2004 and 2005, but has been stuck on 99 career wins since May 21, when he allowed two runs in six innings of a 10-3 defeat at Kansas City.

He is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in four starts since.

“I think it’s something that I know is there,” Suppan said. “But it’s something that I’m really not pitching to get that 100th win. I’m pitching to help the team.”

His last time out, Suppan gave up five runs—including three solo homers— and walked five in four innings of the Cardinals’ 7-5 win at Milwaukee on Sunday.

That performance raised his ERA on the road, where he’s 2-3, to 8.04 in six starts. He’s much better at home, going 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in seven outings.

Suppan is 3-1 with a 4.40 ERA in five starts against the Rockies. He beat them May 10 at Busch Stadium, throwing five innings of three-run ball with seven strikeouts and no walks in a 7-4 victory.

Colorado (34-33) had its four-game winning streak snapped Friday, but does have recent history on its side with Jeff Francis (5-5, 3.76) on the mound Saturday.

The left-hander’s career numbers indicate he has more success at Coors Field, where he’s 13-6 with a 4.31 ERA compared to 9-13 with a 5.76 on the road, but he’s performed very well in St. Louis.

Francis is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA in his only two starts against the Cardinals — both on the road—and he beat them earlier this season when he allowed one run in 7 2-3 innings of a 6-2 win on May 8.

Francis enters Saturday’s game having won back-to-back starts, including a 4-3 victory at Washington on Monday in which he gave up two runs in 6 2-3 innings.

“I feel like I’ve been able to go out and make pitches, save for the one start in San Fran,” said Francis, who allowed a season-high seven runs in a 9-0 loss to the Giants on May 26. “I think I’ve been able to go deep in the game and keep the team in the game.”

Brad Hawpe homered for the second straight game Friday, but is 2-for-10 (.200) against Suppan with no extra-base hits.

Cory Sullivan, however, is 6-for-7 (.857) with one triple against the pitcher, while Matt Holliday is 3-for-5 (.600) with two homers.

The Cardinals have won five of their last seven against the Rockies.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Francis Tor vs. J. Suppan SD
13-11 Record 12-7
4.16 ERA 4.12
117 K 104
69 BB 69
1.29 WHIP 1.45