Kansas City (25-52) at St. Louis (43-34)

Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri Jun 30, 2006
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Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan looks to continue his success at Busch Stadium and build on his team’s latest win when St. Louis opens a three-game Interstate 70 series against the Kansas City Royals on Friday.

Suppan (6-4, 5.09 ERA), who is 4-1 with a 3.22 ERA at home this year, has struggled to record victories lately after notching 16 wins in each of his last two seasons with the Cardinals.

The 12-year veteran right-hander has gone 3-2 in his last nine starts, lasting longer than six innings only twice during that span.

His longest effort of the season came June 17, when he lasted 7 2-3 innings against Colorado, allowing two runs en route to his 100th career win.

Suppan did not factor into Saturday’s 7-6 loss to Detroit, when he allowed nine hits and three runs in just five innings.

“The first two innings, I wound up throwing a lot of pitches, which affected me later in the game and limited the amount of innings I could go,” said Suppan, who threw 55 pitches in the first and second innings and just 39 over the next three.

Suppan is 1-3 against the Royals, for whom he pitched from 1998-2002. He recorded his sole victory against them on May 21, limiting Kansas City to two runs in six innings.

The Cardinals (43-34) could benefit from the matchup against their cross-state rivals, who own baseball’s worst record and got swept by St. Louis at home May 19-21.

The Cardinals snapped an eight-game losing streak—their longest since 1988 — with Wednesday’s 5-4 win against the Cleveland Indians.

Second baseman Aaron Miles delivered an RBI double and then scored on a throwing error in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The victory improved the Cardinals to 4-8 this season against AL opponents.

The Royals (25-52), who are 8-7 in interleague play and have won six of their last nine games overall, send right-hander Brandon Duckworth (1-1, 4.96) to the mound in the series opener.

Duckworth earned his first against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday despite struggling through a four-run fourth inning.

“You can just never give in, never give up,” said Duckworth, who finished with five runs and 10 hits allowed in five innings for his first major league victory since the 2004 season. “You’ve got to keep battling, battling, battling.”

The veteran has not faced the Cardinals since 2005, but he took the loss in that start, going just four innings after allowing eight earned runs.

The Royals failed to win their fourth straight series on Thursday, losing 6-5 to the Cincinnati Reds. Kansas City batted around in the top of the eighth inning to tie the contest, but Cincinnati answered with an RBI double by Adam Dunn in the bottom of the frame.

Royals first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz went 2-for-5 with three runs scored and his third home run of the year Thursday. He is batting .333 (8-for-24) with six RBIs in his last six games.

The Cardinals have won 22 of 36 meetings with the Royals all-time in interleague play.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Duckworth Bos vs. J. Suppan SD
1-5 Record 12-7
6.11 ERA 4.12
27 K 104
24 BB 69
1.88 WHIP 1.45