Cardinals Blank Cubs 2-0

Suppan pitched seven-plus shutout innings Friday night as the Cardinals blanked the Cubs 2-0 in the opener of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

Jeff Suppan, you have heard me say time and time again, he is the "best bang for the buck" when he takes the mound for the Cardinals.

To prove my point Friday night Suppan pitched seven-plus shutout innings as the St. Louis Cardinals blanked the Chicago Cubs, 2-0, in the opener of a three-game set at Busch Stadium.

Suppan improved to (10-7) scattered five hits and struck out two while walking three. Jason Isringhausen pitched a scoreless ninth inning to register his 31st save of the season.

Scott Rolen and Juan Encarnacion knocked in runs for the Cardinals, who ended a three-game losing streak and moved into first place in the NL Central. With the win, St. Louis(67-60) avoided falling to only five games over .500 for the first time since May 4.

The Reds tied with St. Louis for first place when the day started will have to beat the Giants in San Francisco to keep pace with the Redbirds.

The Cubs and Cardinals are playing their final series of the season this weekend, meeting for the fifth time this year. With the win tonight the Cardinals are 6-11 vs. the Cubs thus far this season, going 2-8 at Chicago and 4-3 in a pair of series at new Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals just wrapped up a 16-game stretch last night that included just three home games. They went 6-10 in that stretch, seeing their lead in the NL Central shrink from 3-1/2 games to a tie for first with Cincinnati.

Friday night was the opener of a 9-game, 10-day homestand with three games vs. the Cubs, Marlins and Pirates.

Chris Carpenter will make his 26th start of the season Saturday, fourth vs. Chicago. In his last start was against the Cubs last Sunday (8/20) Carp pitched an 8.0 inning gem of a 5-3 win Overall this season Carpenter vs. the Cubs is 1-1, with a 3.50 ERA in three road starts.

The reigning N.L. Pitcher of the Week went 17 IP in his last two starts with a 1.06 ERA (2er)and currently ranks 3rd in the N.L. with his 3.05 ERA.

Carpenter will put his league-leading 1.71 home ERA to the test tomorrow, as well as his day ERA of 2.29 (also ranked 1st in the N.L.).

Coming up

Sat., Aug. 26 vs. CUBS: Chris Carpenter (12-6, 3.05) vs. Rich Hill (3-6, 6.44) 12:25 p.m.+

Sun., Aug. 27 vs. CUBS: Jeff Weaver (2-3, 5.74) vs. TBD 7:05 p.m.%

Mon., Aug. 28: OPEN DATE

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