Cards' three-game skid ends

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Scott Rolen did everything right, except
remember that it was getaway day.

Rolen homered and drove in four runs, giving him a major
league-leading 49 RBI, in the St. Louis Cardinals' 6-3 victory
over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. He left Busch Stadium
without speaking to reporters because he had to hurriedly pack for
the team's seven-game trip that begins Friday in Houston, so his
teammates spoke for him.

"The guy is amazing," catcher Mike Matheny said. "He's been
carrying us for a while. We can't rely on only him."

Jeff Suppan (4-4) worked six solid innings to help the Cardinals
end a three-game losing streak and split an abbreviated two-game
series with the Pirates. Tuesday's game was postponed because of
rain and spot flooding.

Pittsburgh's Daryle Ward, who hit for the cycle and tied his
career best with six RBI Wednesday night, singled in his first
at-bat. But he didn't get the ball out of the infield after that in
a 1-for-4 day.

Rolen's 11th homer was a three-run shot off a hanging breaking
ball from Ryan Vogelsong (1-4) in the third.

Rolen added a sacrifice fly in the fourth to make it 6-0. Rolen
drove in six runs in the two games, and has eight RBI in his last
three games.

"He's been the MVP, I'll put it that way," St. Louis right
fielder Reggie Sanders said.

Albert Pujols had a first-inning sacrifice fly and drew a
career-high four walks for the Cardinals. John Mabry was 2-for-3
with a double, making him 4-for-7 with two doubles and two walks in
two games since being promoted from Triple-A Memphis.

Mabry will get his third straight start Friday at Houston.

"That's the kind of lift a club can use," manager Tony La
Russa said. "So he'll have Mr. Clemens tomorrow."

Vogelsong struggled on the mound in his first appearance against
St. Louis, but was the hitting star for the Pirates. He was 2-for-3
with an RBI double, but gave up six runs on five hits in five
innings with five walks and five strikeouts.

"Anytime you walk guys it isn't any good," Vogelsong said. "I
really paid the price for it. I've got to find a way, that's what I
keep saying, and that's the bottom line."

Vogelsong is 0-4 in eight starts since winning in his season
debut April 8 against the Phillies. This month he has a 6.43 ERA.

"It's been a tough go for him," manager Lloyd McClendon said.
"We just need to continue to encourage this young man and work on
his command and get him feeling good about himself, and I think
he's going to be a quality pitcher for us."

Suppan won for the first time at home, giving up three runs in
six innings. He played most of last season for the Pirates.

Suppan is 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA at home and 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA on
the road.

"I don't think it's been a struggle," Suppan said. "Do I have
a win here? Now, I do. Before I didn't.

"I had two rough games here and two decent games and today we
won, and I would say sometimes that's how it goes."

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his ninth save in 11

Vogelsong and Abraham Nunez had consecutive RBI doubles in the
fifth for the Pirates' first runs of the game. Craig Wilson walked
to lead off the sixth and scored on Tike Redman's sacrifice fly in
the sixth.

Despite the loss, the Pirates have won six of their last eight
on the road and have won eight of 13 overall.

Game notes
Besides Ward's feat, Wednesday night's game was notable in
that all the starters on both teams -- including the pitchers -- got
a hit. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's happened only
five times in the last 30 years, the last time on Sept. 19, 1998,
when the Dodgers played at the Giants. ... Pirates C Humberto Cota
left after the top of the fifth with a strained muscle in his left
side. He said he aggravated an injury sustained May 19 in a
doubleheader against the Padres. "After my first at-bat, it was
pretty tough to throw the ball back," Cota said. "After that
first at-bat, to be honest with you, I couldn't breathe at all."
... Cardinals C Cody McKay got his first start since May 13 and was
0-for-3 to drop his average to .088 (3-for-34). But McKay threw out
one of two runners attempting to steal, making him 5-for-7 on the