Milwaukee (52-58) at St. Louis (59-50)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 2:15 pm EDT Sun Aug 6, 2006
  • TV: KPLR
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Now that their eight-game losing streak and Albert Pujols’ 10-game home run drought are over, perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals can improve their fortunes against left-handed pitching.

The Cardinals face Milwaukee Brewers All-Star Chris Capuano as the clubs conclude their three-game weekend series Sunday at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis (59-50) is 43-25 when facing a right-handed starter this season, but only 16-25 when the opponent starts a lefty. Capuano (10-7, 3.78 ERA) did not earn a decision when he faced the Cardinals at Milwaukee on June 10, but limited St. Louis to three runs in seven innings of a 4-3 victory.

Capuano is 4-1 with a 4.89 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis. Pujols has fared well against him, going 6-for-12 with a homer and four walks.

After going 10-4 with a 3.21 ERA before the All-Star break, Capuano is 0-3 with a 6.94 ERA, a .340 opponent batting average and has given up nine home runs allowed in four starts since. He has posted quality starts in just two of six outings since the start of July after recording a quality start 16 of his first 17 outings this season.

Capuano pitched his third career complete game Monday at Colorado, allowing four runs and seven hits, but got the loss in the Brewers’ 4-2 defeat.

The left-hander may become even more important to the Brewers (52-58) since staff ace Ben Sheets left Saturday’s game after one inning with tightness in a pectoral muscle. The injury-plagued Sheets, who has made only seven starts this season, said the feeling reminded him of cramping which led to a torn back muscle and ended his 2005 season.

“It wasn’t too bad throwing as much as in between pitches it felt like a cramp in there,” Sheets said. “It kind of became eerily similar to last year’s cramp that I tried to go through and we all know the rest of that story.”

The Cardinals took advantage of Sheets’ injury to win 4-3, snapping their second eight-game losing streak of the season. St. Louis, which also dropped eight in a row from June 20-27, were outscored 54-29 during the skid.

“This is kind of new,” said starter Anthony Reyes, who allowed three runs in five innings to win Saturday’s game. “It’s real nice. I like it. It’s kind of like a little weight lifted off our shoulders.”

Pujols had some weight lifted off his shoulders as he went 2-for-4 with his first home run since July 25, a two-run shot in the third inning. St. Louis is 25-6 when Pujols homers this season, 34-44 when he does not.

Brewers right fielder Geoff Jenkins ended a home run drought of his own Saturday, hitting a two-run shot for his 10th homer and first since July 10. He may have a tough time following up the effort, though, as he is just 6-for-39 (.154) in his career against Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan (8-6, 5.07).

Suppan struggled in his last outing, a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday in which he gave up five runs—four earned—nine hits and three walks in five innings. The right-hander is 11-2 with a 3.69 ERA in 18 career appearances, including 17 starts, versus the Brewers.

Suppan has not received a decision in two starts against Milwaukee this season, giving up six earned runs in 10 innings.

Following this contest the Cardinals open a seven-game road trip Monday with a crucial four-game set at Cincinnati, whom they lead by 2 1/2 games at the top of the NL Central.

Milwaukee returns home for a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs starting Tuesday.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Capuano NYY vs. J. Suppan SD
11-12 Record 12-7
4.03 ERA 4.12
174 K 104
47 BB 69
1.25 WHIP 1.45


Sunday, Aug 6