Pirates 3, Cardinals 0

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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 RBIs.

“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.”


: 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.

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