Cardinals 2

(14-11, 7-5 away)

Orioles 3

(10-16, 8-6 home)

    1:05 PM ET, March 28, 2006

    Ft. Lauderdale Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 000200000 2 - -
    BAL 00010002 - 3 - -

    Baltimore 3, St. Louis 2

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- After throwing five effective innings against the Baltimore Orioles, Jeff Suppan still had one item of business to tend to.

    With his upper body virtually encased in ice, the right-hander slipped on a warmup jacket and gave his parents a hug before they headed to the airport for a flight back to California.

    It was a good day for Suppan, even if the St. Louis Cardinals ended up losing 3-2 Tuesday.

    In his fifth start this spring, Suppan allowed one run and five hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked none.

    "My whole thing was staying in the bottom part of the strike zone, even though the wind's blowing in," he said. "These guys are a very good hitting team. I got in some jams but was able to minimize the damage, so it felt really good."

    He left the game with a 2-1 lead, and his parents ended their three-week visit before the Cardinals gave away the lead.

    Fortunately for Suppan, his folks weren't in Florida during his first spring training start -- a disaster against the New York Mets in which he gave up nine runs and nine hits in 1 1-3 innings.

    "Basically I was throwing fastballs and changeups, and I left the ball up and they did what good hitters do," he said. "Every game you look for improvement, and from that first game I had a lot to improve on."

    His performance against the Orioles was his best one yet.

    "I finally had a good cutter, which really helped," Suppan said. "I still have one more start, a minor league start. I'm still building. The main thing is getting mentally and physically ready for the season, and I'm close."

    Suppan outpitched Orioles starter Bruce Chen, who allowed two runs and four hits in six innings.

    Baltimore pulled ahead with a two-run eighth. Brian Roberts hit a leadoff triple and scored on a single by Luis Matos. Cardinals second baseman Junior Spivey then booted a potential double-play grounder, and Miguel Tejada followed with a grounder to second that Spivey picked up and threw wildly to first, allowing Matos to score the go-ahead run.

    Chris Ray worked a perfect ninth for the save.

    Juan Encarnacion hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who managed only five hits off four Baltimore pitchers.

    Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons was held out of the game with a stiff upper back. He's day to day, Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press