Suppan Gets the Better of Former Mates

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By R.B. FALLSTROM
The Associated Press
Sunday, April 15, 2007; 3:46 AM

ST. LOUIS -- Jeff Suppan got the emotions out of the way Friday when he received his World Series ring from the Cardinals. On Saturday night, he got down to business and beat his former team.

Suppan, one of three starters St. Louis did not sign after winning their first title in 24 years, pitched 6 1-3 solid innings in a 3-2 Milwaukee Brewers victory.

He beat Kip Wells, who essentially replaced him in the Cardinals rotation.

"Surprisingly, I felt actually OK," Suppan said. "The first day coming in was a little odd for me, but going out there I was just getting ready for a game.

"I think on the field I was just focused on hitting my spots."

Rickie Weeks hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the fifth inning for Milwaukee, who snapped the Cardinals' four-game winning streak.

The game was originally scheduled to start in the afternoon but the Cardinals decided Friday to push it back six hours to avoid a second straight rainout. It was 41 degrees when it started and a crowd of 42,805 was announced, keeping alive the team's solid slate of sellouts at year-old Busch Stadium, although there was more than 13,000 no-shows.

Suppan was allowed to leave for a four-year, $42 million deal in Milwaukee after winning the NL championship series MVP last fall and totaling 44 victories over three seasons. Wells joined the Cardinals, signing a one-year, $4 million deal coming off an injury-plagued 2006.

Suppan allowed two runs on five hits, a day after his first visit to Busch Stadium since the World Series parade and two nights after he and his wife dined at Rolen's home. He struck out five, walked none and scored the game's first run after drawing a walk with one out in the third.

Suppan has won his last four decisions at Busch Stadium spanning seven starts.

"He did what he always does, he goes out there and throws a lot of strikes, tries to pitch off the corners and tries to change things up," said the Cardinals' David Eckstein, who was 0-for-3 against Suppan. "Anybody who knows Soup, he did that for us all last year."

The Cardinals are 0-4 at home since beating the Tigers in Game 5 of the World Series, including a season-opening three-game sweep to the Mets in which they were outscored 20-2. Wells allowed three runs in seven innings for St. Louis, which got an RBI from Scott Rolen and Aaron Miles.


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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