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St. Louis at Milwaukee

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St. Louis «000120000350
Milwaukee000000000052

Cardinals 3, Brewers 0

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Although Jeff Suppan outpitched Ben Sheets, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was impressed by both starters.

Suppan took a five-hitter into the ninth inning as St. Louis spoiled Sheets' record payday with a 3-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

"They were both very sharp there was nothing there for hitter's tonight," La Russa said. "In this league, you face pitching like that."

Sheets, a two-time All-Star, signed a $38.5 million, four-year contract with the Brewers before the game, the richest deal in team history.

Albert Pujols hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth. It was the second homer allowed by Sheets (1-1) this season.

Sheets went 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, two earned, and five hits. He struck out seven and walked one, and downplayed any effect the contract might have had.

"It didn't impact me," he said. "I went out there and pitched. Pujols put a good swing on the ball, and I put some bad plays on the ball."

Suppan (1-1) made no such mistakes, and finished just two outs from his first complete game and shutout since July 28, 2003, when he beat the Cardinals while he was with Pittsburgh.

Milwaukee had been swinging the bat very well since the season started. However, Suppan, who won a career-high 16 games in 2004, stopped them.

"I was able to keep them on the ground for the most part and let the defense do the rest," he said. "I was able to get some first pitch outs, and that definitely builds on itself."

Suppan allowed only two hits after the third, both to Brady Clark, and struck out three and walked two in 8 1/3 innings. The Brewers never got a runner past second and the Cardinals turned two double plays to support Suppan.

"He was an artist," La Russa said of his right-hander's 102-pitch, 64-strike performance. "He did very, very well, obviously. It's about missing the middle of the plate, getting on the edges, changing speeds."

Suppan earned his third straight victory at Miller Park. He came in with a 7-2 career record in 11 appearances against the Brewers."

Jason Isringhausen got the final two outs for his third save of the season.

Sheets had signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the team in February to avoid salary arbitration, but left open the option of a longer pact.

He had back surgery in the offseason, and general manager Doug Melvin wanted to see how the right-hander performed in spring training before opening talks on a bigger deal.

Sheets entered the game 4-8 with a 4.41 ERA in 15 career starts against the Cardinals, after going 1-3 in five starts against them last year.

On Friday night, Sheets started like he might have better luck against the defending NL champions.

He gave up a single to Larry Walker in the first and a single to David Eckstein in the third who was out at second on a strong throw by right-fielder Geoff Jenkins.

The game turned around on Sheets in the fifth when he made two throwing errors and it cost him.

"It turned out to open the inning for us," La Russa said.

Reggie Sanders reached on Sheets' two-base throwing error leading off the inning. Sheets seemed to launch the ball more than throw it to first.

Mark Grudzielanek followed with a run-scoring single. One out later, Suppan dropped a perfect bunt down the first base line which Sheets grabbed, but then threw the ball away. Grudzielanek, running on the play, scored easily to make it 3-0.

"That was uncharacteristic of Benny," Brewers manager Ned Yost said of Sheets who has only made seven errors in his career. "He's normally a pretty good fielder. Those balls just got away from him."

The Brewers have not given Sheets any run support in his last two outings after providing nine in his opening day start in Pittsburgh.

Notes

Cardinals CF Jim Edmonds came down with a stomach flu and was scratched from the starting lineup. RF Larry Walker moved to center and Roger Cedeno started in right. ... The Cardinals placed RHP Cal Eldred on the 15-day DL with a viral infection, retroactive to April 11, and recalled RHP Jimmy Journell from Triple-A Memphis.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
St. Louis

J. Suppan
IP 8.1
H 5
ER 0
BB 2
K 3
 
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS3010101 .333
Larry Walker, CF-RF4010012 .233
Albert Pujols, 1B4111022 .242
Scott Rolen, 3B4000011 .125
Roger Cedeno, RF3000000 .091
    So Taguchi, CF1000010 .333
Reggie Sanders, LF4100010 .240
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B3111010 .261
Yadier Molina, C3000011 .045
Jeff Suppan, P3011010 .250
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
Totals32353197 
Batting
HR - Albert Pujols (2, Sheets)
RBI - Albert Pujols (4), Mark Grudzielanek (2), Jeff Suppan (1)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Rolen-Pujols, Grudzielanek-Eckstein-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Suppan (W,1-1) 8.1500230 3.65
Jason Isringhausen (S,3) 0.2000010 2.45
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 88-55, Jason Isringhausen 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 10-9
Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 29, Jason Isringhausen 2
Milwaukee Brewers
Brady Clark, CF4020000 .351
Junior Spivey, 2B3000121 .275
Lyle Overbay, 1B4010002 .273
Carlos Lee, LF4000012 .270
Geoff Jenkins, RF3010010 .211
Jeff Cirillo, 3B3010000 .273
Chad Moeller, C3000001 .111
J.J. Hardy, SS2000100 .130
Ben Sheets, P2000002 .000
    Ricky Bottalico, P0000000 .000
   a- Bill Hall, PH1000000 .100
    Derrick Turnbow, P0000000 .000
Totals29050248 
a-fouled out for Bottalico in the 8th
Batting
2B - Lyle Overbay (3, Suppan)
CS - Brady Clark (3, 2nd base by Suppan/Molina)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Geoff Jenkins 1
E - Ben Sheets 2 (2, throwing error)
Milwaukee Brewers
Ben Sheets (L,1-2) 7.1532171 3.38
Ricky Bottalico 0.2000010 0.00
Derrick Turnbow 1000010 4.15
Pitches-Strikes - Ben Sheets 118-72, Ricky Bottalico 7-4, Derrick Turnbow 3-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ben Sheets 5-10, Ricky Bottalico 1-0, Derrick Turnbow 1-1
Batters Faced - Ben Sheets 28, Ricky Bottalico 2, Derrick Turnbow 3
Game Information
Attendance - 22676
Game Time - 2:13
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Larry Young, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Ed Hickox