MIAMI (AP) -- If the St. Louis Cardinals could just get the
offense going, they'd really be tough to beat.
For the second night in a row, St. Louis won without much
production from its vaunted lineup. Jeff Suppan allowed only two
hits in eight-plus innings, and the Cardinals extended their
winning streak to seven games Wednesday night by beating the
Florida Marlins 1-0.
Edgar Renteria singled home the lone run for the Cardinals, who
improved to 20-5 since the All-Star break. They've won the first
two games in their series with the Marlins by a combined score of
Suppan (10-6) walked two, struck out two, threw 100 pitches and
benefited from outstanding glove work, especially by third baseman
"I was able to keep the goose eggs going," Suppan said. "I
tried to throw strikes and use the defense."
Carl Pavano (12-5) was almost as good, allowing one run and six
hits in eight innings. The Marlins have given up eight hits in two
games against the Cardinals, who lead the NL in hitting and added
three-time batting champion Larry Walker last week.
St. Louis' pitchers have been even better. They limited Florida
to one run Tuesday, and Suppan took a no-hitter into the sixth.
"I was aware I was throwing one," he said. "There was a guy
in the front row who kept telling me every time I went out there."
Right fielder Walker made a running over-the-shoulder catch of
Jeff Conine's fly three steps from the wall in the fifth, and Rolen
contributed several defensive gems.
"The game Rolen played -- my goodness," manager Tony La Russa
said. "He has great games every night, and he had greater than
Time is running out for the World Series champion Marlins. They
fell nine games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East and 6½
behind the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card standings.
"I don't feel any clock," Pavano said. "It's over when they
tell us it's over."
That will be soon, unless the Marlins start scoring more.
They've totaled two runs in the past 33 innings.
They went 10 innings over two games without a hit until Gonzalez
ended the 0-for-30 stretch with a ground single between third and
shortstop leading off the sixth. After a sacrifice and a walk,
Suppan retired Luis Castillo and Lo Duca on grounders.
Even a small bottle of holy water from the archdiocese of Miami
that manager Jack McKeon keeps on his desk hasn't helped.
"I used it on the bats, but it didn't seem to work. I guess
I've got to get it blessed again," McKeon joked. "We're not
hitting. You run across those days, weeks and years sometimes."
Struggling worst for Florida is slugger Mike Lowell, who went
0-for-3 and is in a 3-for-36 slump.
"He's pressing," McKeon said. "You've got to relax and have
fun. It's not the end of the world."
In the first five innings Suppan allowed only one baserunner -- a
walk to Gonzalez in the third. The right-hander improved to 7-0 on
the road and became the fourth St. Louis pitcher to reach 10 wins.
"He changed speeds, moving the ball in and out and keeping the
ball down probably better than any pitcher we've seen this year,"
Pavano said. "He kept us off balance all night."
The Cardinals broke a scoreless tie in the sixth after leadoff
hitter Rolen fell behind 0-2 and then coaxed a walk. He took third
on a single by Jim Edmonds and scored on a single by Renteria.
That was it for offense from St. Louis, which managed just two
hits in their victory Tuesday against the Marlins.
"They have great pitching," Renteria said. "I can't wait to
get out of here."<
^Notes:@ The Marlins optioned RHP Ben Howard to Triple-A
Albuquerque and are expecting to activate closer Armando Benitez on
Thursday. ... The Cardinals improved to 51-16 since May 27. They're
38-17 this season on the road. ... Suppan went 0-for-3 and is in an
0-for-44 slump dating back to last season. ... The last time Pavano
faced the Cardinals, he pitched the 19th and 20th innings and took
the defeat. Florida lost that game 7-6 on April 27, 2003. ... The
Cardinals have allowed 13 runs during their seven-game winning