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Suppan tosses rare complete game for Pirates

6/29/2003 - Jeff Suppan

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Jeff Suppan did something no other Pittsburgh
Pirates starter has done all season, and it wasn't just throwing a
shutout. He made it look easy.

Matt Stairs homered and drove in four runs and Suppan pitched
Pittsburgh's first complete game in more than a year as the Pirates
beat the Colorado Rockies 9-0 Sunday.

"That was the most effective game pitched against us all
season," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "I can't say more
than that."

Kenny Lofton and Jason Kendall sparked all of Pittsburgh's
scoring against Rockies starter Shawn Chacon (11-4) as each reached
base three times in the first four innings. Chacon was trying to
become the majors' first 12-game winner, but left trailing 6-0
after four innings.

Chacon had won seven of eight starts and was opposing a pitcher
who had lost seven of eight, only to be lifted after giving up six
earned runs and six hits. Kendall and Lofton combined for five of
the six hits off Chacon, with Stairs' homer being the other hit.

Kendall, who might be suspended as early as Tuesday for fighting
in Tampa Bay earlier this month, finished 4-for-5 with an RBI.

Suppan (6-7), who had been losing games as regularly as Chacon
was winning them, made what easily was his best start since early
April by pitching a four-hitter for the Pirates' first
complete-game shutout of the season. They have two shutouts by
multiple pitchers.

The Pirates had gone 170 games without a complete game since
Jimmy Anderson, now in the Reds' organization, beat Cincinnati on
June 16, 2002. It also was the first shutout by a Pirates pitcher
since Kip Wells beat the Cubs 5-0 on May 29, 2002.

"We scored early and kept scoring runs and our defense was
outstanding," said Suppan, who hadn't thrown a shutout since April
29, 2002, with the Royals. "I took it inning by inning and was
able to keep making my pitches. Everything kind of happened for
us."

Suppan won for the first time in five starts and only the second
time in 12 starts since winning his first four starts. He struck
out six, walked two and was helped by a pair of double-play
grounders.

Suppan also had a run-scoring single in the seventh for his
first RBI of the season.

Lofton, who had five hits in the final two games of the series,
and Kendall singled in succession to start the Pirates' first
inning and Lofton scored on Aramis Ramirez's force-play grounder.
Ramirez later added a sacrifice fly in a three-run seventh that
included Stairs' RBI double.

"It's important for the leadoff guy to get on because anything
can happen," Lofton said. "Things worked out today and we hope we
can keep it going."

Stairs' three-run homer in the third was his sixth of the season
and fifth in 18 games since coming off the disabled list. Lofton
doubled and Kendall singled to start the four-run inning, with
Lofton scoring on catcher Bobby Estalella's errant throw as Kendall
stole second.

"It was just a bad day," Chacon said. "I didn't feel like I
made a lot of mistakes ... I've won with the stuff I had today. One
bad pitch (to Stairs) was all it took for us to lose this game."

Stairs is 19-for-46 (.413) with six doubles, five homers and 12
RBI in 18 games since being activated.

"I'm getting a chance to play a lot," Stairs said. "Hitting
is confidence and I'm feeling comfortable right now, I'm going to
the plate with a lot of confidence ... if you lose confidence,
you're done."

Game notes
The Pirates won two of three for the third straight series
at PNC Park after failing to win any of their first 10 series
there. They have won seven of 10 at home since losing 21 of their
first 29. ... Suppan was 0-2 in five starts in PNC Park since last
winning there April 22. ... Pirates SS Jack Wilson was 1-for-29
until he singled in the seventh. ... The Rockies were 13-3 in
Chacon's first 16 starts, the best such record for any starter in
the majors. ... Rockies 1B Todd Helton singled in the first to run
his hitting streak to 14 games (22-for-56, .393). ... Kendall's
appeal of his three-game suspension will be heard Tuesday. ...
Atlanta is the only major league team without a complete game this
season. ... After the game, the Pirates optioned right-hander Brian
Meadows to Triple-A Nashville. Reliever Mike Lincoln likely will be
called up before Tuesday's game against Cincinnati. ... The Rockies
went 3-3 on a six-game trip to San Diego and Pittsburgh.