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Chicago at St. Louis

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Chi. Cubs000000000051
St. Louis «00101000x2131

Suppan stifles Cubs, Cards maintain NL Central lead

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Jeff Suppan more than made up for Chris Duncan's mistakes.

Suppan pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning, overcoming three balls that St. Louis' rookie left fielder turned into doubles, and the Cardinals defeated the Chicago Cubs 2-0 Friday night.

"I misplayed a couple of balls but it was really impressive how Suppan picked me up," Duncan said. "I thought he did an unbelievable job and we ended up winning because of it."

Scott Rolen drove in a run and made a running, juggling catch for the Cardinals, who began the day leading the second-place Reds by less than one percentage point in the NL Central.

The Cardinals have won only two of their last six games, both times when prevailing Juan Mateo started for the Cubs. St. Louis won despite going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranding 15 runners.

"We couldn't come up with the hit that we needed," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "I thought one of them was going to haunt them sooner or later, but it didn't."

All-Star center fielder Jim Edmonds struck out four times in his first start for the Cardinals since leaving a game Aug. 15 because of post-concussion syndrome.

"He hadn't played in a while and his timing wasn't great," manager Tony La Russa said. "He was taking his swings and we only scored two, so it wasn't just Jimmy."

Duncan, who's provided a big boost for the offense with a .337 average, 14 homers and 29 RBI in 178 at-bats, was 1-for-4 with a double and scored the Cardinals' first run in the third.

His hitting was far overshadowed by the balls that eluded him in the first, fifth and sixth -- those were the only hits allowed by Suppan (10-7) to that point.

Duncan came in a few steps and then watched Freddie Bynum's fly ball sail over his head in the first, twice got turned around on Angel Pagan's fly ball to the warning track in the fifth, then hesitated and missed a diving attempt on Aramis Ramirez's liner in the sixth.

Suppan didn't allow of those runners, or anyone else, to advance past second base. Facing the Cubs for the second straight start, he gave up five hits, struck out two and walked three in 7 2/3 innings, plus added two hits and a sacrifice.

"I make a lot of mistakes out there, too, and they pick me up when they're making great plays," Suppan said. "There's a give and take there. He went after those balls hard and just didn't come up with them and fortunately I was able to make some pitches after that."

Randy Flores struck out Jacque Jones with runners on first and second for the last out in the eighth and Jason Isringhausen finished for his 31st save in 40 chances.

Isringhausen pitched for the first time since giving up a game-winning homer to the Mets' Carlos Beltran on Tuesday. Isringhausen drew a lot of boos from the home crowd when he came in to pitch.

Rolen made a nifty play behind Isringhausen, running far down the third-base line to catch John Mabry's foul pop. Avoiding a collision with shortstop Aaron Miles, Rolen had the ball pop off his chest at an attempt at a basket catch, then grabbed it with his bare hand.

"I overran it a little bit and had to try to smother it," Rolen said. "It kind of made me mad because it hurt my chest, so I just swiped at it. It happened pretty fast."

Duncan doubled off Mateo (1-2) to start the third and scored on Rolen's sacrifice fly, and two fielding plays involving Ramirez at third base helped the Cardinals take a 2-0 lead in the fifth.

Ramirez couldn't field Rolen's one-out chopper cleanly, losing sight of the ball just at his feet. Rolen stole second on Edmonds' strikeout and scored when Juan Encarnacion's low liner shot between Ramirez's legs on a play ruled a single.

Mateo gave up two runs, one earned, on 10 hits in five-plus innings.

Notes

  • Actor Kevin Pollak, doing research for a screenplay based on the book "Three Nights in August" about La Russa, is in town the next few days along with author Buzz Bissinger.
  • Chicago's Juan Pierre was 0-for-4 and didn't get the ball out of the infield, ending a 19-game road hitting streak during which he'd hit .364 (32-for-88).
  • Ronnie Belliard and Gary Bennett each had three singles for St. Louis.
  • The Cubs have been shut out 13 times.
 
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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Jeff Suppan does not allow a base runner to advance past second base the entire game.  (AP)
Jeff Suppan does not allow a base runner to advance past second base the entire game. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

J. Suppan
IP 7.2
H 5
ER 0
BB 3
K 2
St. Louis

S. Rolen
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4000001 .282
Freddie Bynum, 2B4020001 .274
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3010101 .288
Jacque Jones, RF3000124 .280
Michael Barrett, C4000001 .320
John Mabry, 1B4000000 .220
Angel Pagan, LF4020010 .283
Ronny Cedeno, SS2000102 .243
Juan Mateo, P1000011 .000
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Murton, PH1000000 .293
    Bob Howry, P00000001.000
Totals300503411 
a-lined out for Wuertz in the 8th
Batting
2B - Freddie Bynum 2 (2, Suppan, Suppan), Aramis Ramirez (30, Suppan), Angel Pagan (6, Suppan)
SH - Juan Mateo (2)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Aramis Ramirez (10, )
Chicago Cubs
Juan Mateo (L,1-2) 51021120 3.38
Michael Wuertz 2200110 3.09
Bob Howry 1100010 3.14
IBB - Pujols by Michael Wuertz
HBP - Belliard (by Juan Mateo)
Pitches-Strikes - Juan Mateo 96-58, Michael Wuertz 22-14, Bob Howry 23-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Juan Mateo 9-5, Michael Wuertz 3-2, Bob Howry 1-1
Batters Faced - Juan Mateo 28, Michael Wuertz 9, Bob Howry 4
St. Louis Cardinals
Aaron Miles, SS5020006 .267
Chris Duncan, LF4110003 .337
    So Taguchi, LF1000000 .266
Albert Pujols, 1B4000102 .324
Scott Rolen, 3B4121003 .313
Jim Edmonds, CF4000146 .260
Juan Encarnacion, RF4011001 .278
Ronnie Belliard, 2B3020000 .287
Gary Bennett, C4030002 .223
Jeff Suppan, P3020003 .227
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
Totals3621322426 
Batting
2B - Chris Duncan (9, Mateo)
SF - Scott Rolen (8)
SH - Jeff Suppan (7)
RBI - Scott Rolen (78), Juan Encarnacion (67)
2-OUT RBI - Juan Encarnacion (27)
SB - Scott Rolen (7, 2nd base off Mateo/Barrett)
Team LOB - 15
Fielding
DP - Rolen-Belliard-Pujols
E - Aaron Miles (12, )
St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Suppan (W,10-7) 7.2500320 4.77
Randy Flores (H,17) 0.1000010 4.84
Jason Isringhausen (S,31) 1000010 3.48
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 99-58, Randy Flores 5-3, Jason Isringhausen 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 13-7
Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 30, Randy Flores 1, Jason Isringhausen 3
Game Information
Attendance - 46004
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Mark Carlson, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Adam Dowdy, Third Base - Wally Bell