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Cards have won 13 of last 14 meetings with Pittsburgh

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jeff Suppan gave an overworked St. Louis
Cardinals bullpen a big breather.

Suppan took a two-hitter into the ninth inning and the Cardinals
backed him with five home runs in an 8-1 victory over the
Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

"He's got that ability to rise to the occasion and pick us
up," manager Tony La Russa said. "He demonstrated it again. He
was a master."

Jim Edmonds hit two two-run homers and So Taguchi also connected
twice to help the Cardinals end a three-game losing streak that
matched their longest of the season. St. Louis has beaten the
Pirates 13 times in the last 14 meetings dating to last year.

Suppan (7-6) allowed a bloop single by Jack Wilson leading off
the third and then retired 15 batters before Humberto Cota singled
leading off the eighth. He was lifted with one out in the ninth
after hitting a batter and giving up three hits, including Freddy
Sanchez's RBI single.

Wearing long sleeves despite 94-degree heat, Suppan struck out
five and walked one.

"Was it hot out there?" Suppan joked. "It's part of playing
in St. Louis or the Midwest, it's hot and humid, but I felt fine."

In the previous three games, starters Jason Marquis, Mark Mulder
and Matt Morris had totaled 9 1/3 innings and allowed 23 runs -- 16
earned -- and 26 hits. During the losing streak, the Cardinals were
outscored 29-17.

"That's obviously in your mind but it wasn't an approach I was
going to take out there, like I have to go out there and throw all
these innings," Suppan said. "I went out there and said, 'OK,
what's going to make me stay in the game longer? Get ahead, change
speeds and work fast."

Suppan is 6-1 for his career against the Pirates, for whom he
pitched in 2003. His shutout on July 28, 2003 against the Cardinals
was a deciding factor in St. Louis signing him as a free agent the
following offseason.

Taguchi's third homer with one out in the fifth was the
Cardinals' first hit off Kip Wells (5-7). Left fielder Jason Bay
missed by inches on a leaping attempt at the wall on Taguchi's
first homer since May 2.

Edmonds' two-run, opposite-field shot in the sixth made it 3-0.
It was his 12th homer of the year and first since June 7. Yadier
Molina hit his third homer leading off the seventh for a 4-0 lead.

Edmonds' two-run shot to right off Mike Johnston in the eighth
made it 6-0 and gave him 22 career multihomer games. Taguchi got
the first multihomer game of his career with another two-run shot
off Johnston later in the inning.

Wells lasted seven innings, giving up four runs and six hits --
three of them homers. He's 0-4 with an 8.31 ERA in his last four
road starts since allowing one earned run in 7 1/3 innings May 24
in St. Louis, and 2-5 for his career against the Cardinals.

"My game plan was to try to pound the strike zone early in the
count and get them to put the ball in play early," Wells said.
"And I made a few bad pitches."

The Pirates have been outscored 25-1 in Wells' last three
starts, against the Yankees, Red Sox and now the Cardinals -- all on
the road.

"He gave up a bunch against good teams with good pitching,"
Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "When he's giving up six or
seven runs, you're putting your club behind the 8 ball."

Game notes
The start of the game was delayed 32 minutes because a fire
at an industrial plant closed downtown highways for a few hours.
... Umpire Brian Knight replaced Rick Reed, who left Thursday's
game in the fifth after he was struck in the head by a foul ball.
Knight had been at second base. ... A paid crowd of 48,184 was the
Cardinals' 10th sellout in 11 games. ... Cardinals starters lead
the majors with 41 victories, three more than the Chicago White
Sox. ... The Cardinals have lost three straight twice this season,
also dropping three in a row to San Diego in May. ... Suppan's
double in the fifth was the second extra-base hit of his career.
He's 5-for-24 this year after going 4-for-57 last season. ...
Daryle Ward was 0-for-4, ending a 10-game hitting streak.