Milwaukee (56-43) at St. Louis (57-44)

Sunny Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 8:15 pm EDT Tue Jul 22, 2008
  • TV: FSWI, FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Luring Jeff Suppan from the St. Louis Cardinals was a key step in transforming the Milwaukee Brewers into pennant contenders.

Expected to be activated from the disabled list prior to Tuesday’s game, Suppan will try to remain perfect against the Cardinals since joining the Brewers as the NL Central rivals continue to vie for second place at Busch Stadium.

The Brewers (56-43) emerged as a surprising suitor for Suppan - a key contributor to St. Louis’ run to the 2006 NL pennant - signing him to a four-year, $42 million deal before the 2007 season. While the right-hander did not have spectacular numbers overall in 2007 when the Brewers eventually faltered down the stretch, or even this year, he has tormented the Cardinals as a division rival.

Suppan (5-6, 4.71 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA in four starts versus the Cardinals with the Brewers, yielding five runs in 30 1-3 innings. He limited St. Louis to one run in seven innings of his lone start against them this year, a 5-3 victory May 11 at Miller Park.

But Suppan was placed on 15-day DL on July 7 with an irritated right elbow, a move that coincided with CC Sabathia’s arrival in Milwaukee via trade. Suppan had a bullpen session Thursday and told the Brewers’ official Web site, “the rest helped.”

He has won six straight starts over St. Louis since a 6-0 defeat while pitching for Pittsburgh on May 24, 2003, and is 6-2 in 10 lifetime starts against the Cardinals.

Milwaukee had to work extra for its fifth straight victory, opening the series Monday with a 6-3, 10-inning victory that also snapped St. Louis’ five-game win streak. Bill Hall’s solo homer snapped a 3-all tie after closer Salomon Torres squandered a ninth-inning lead for the Brewers, who overtook the Cardinals (57-44) by percentage points for second in the division and are two games behind the Cubs for the NL Central lead.

“From the looks of it, it’s us, the Cardinals and the Cubs who will be battling for the division,” Hall said. “Every win is important in this division.”

Rickie Weeks also homered for the Brewers, extending the team’s streak to a season-high 17 games with at least one.

The Cardinals turn to Kyle Lohse (12-2, 3.35) to get back to their winning ways. The right-hander’s remarkable season continued Thursday, when he limited San Diego to two runs in seven innings of a 4-3 victory - extending his winning streak to nine decisions.

“A lot goes into a winning streak,” said Lohse, whose winning streak is the longest by a Cardinals pitcher since Chris Carpenter reeled off 13 straight from June 14-Sept. 8, 2005. “They play great defense behind me and score runs.”

Lohse did not register a decision in two starts versus the Brewers in a five-day span of April, giving up six runs in 11 innings. He is 3-3 with a 5.50 ERA in nine lifetime starts and 10 overall appearances versus the Brewers.

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, who went 0-for-4 on Monday, is 10-for-26 (.385) with four doubles lifetime versus Suppan. Troy Glaus, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and is 21-for-40 (.525) with five homers and 12 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak, is 12-for-36 with three homers against Suppan.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Suppan SD vs. K. Lohse Mil
10-10 Record 15-6
4.96 ERA 3.78
90 K 119
67 BB 49
1.54 WHIP 1.30

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Jul 22