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