MLB Insiders - Suppan Did His Part

Right-hander Jeff Suppan, whose ERA was 1.04 for his previous five starts, lowered that mark with seven scoreless innings Wednesday night at Milwaukee.

But Suppan, 12-2 against the Brewers in his career and 5-0 at Miller Park, had no victory to celebrate.

The Cardinals lost for the second time in the bottom of the ninth inning in the series when rookie left-hander Tyler Johnson hung a slider and Geoff Jenkins cracked his 16th home run, providing a 1-0 Milwaukee victory. The magic number is five against both Cincinnati and Houston for the Cardinals to clinch the National League Central title.

Offensively, the Cardinals did nothing with Brewers rookie right-hander Carlos Villanueva, whom they had not seen before. They had just three hits off Villanueva over seven innings.

Pinch hitter John Rodriguez doubled with one out in the eighth against reliever Chris Spurling. But Rodriguez, like the Cardinals' other runners, was stranded. The Cardinals were 0-for-7 with men in scoring position.

The Cardinals stayed in the game as long as they did by turning four double plays, with second baseman Ronnie Belliard playing brilliantly.

Suppan allowed just six hits and one walk in seven innings. "Soup did everything he could," manager Tony La Russa said.

REPLAY: The Brewers beat the Cardinals for the second time in three days in the ninth inning. Geoff Jenkins hit Tyler Johnson's second pitch for a solo homer in the ninth as Milwaukee won 1-0.

The Cardinals, in dropping their 43rd road game out of 77, never had two runners on base at the same time.

--General manager Walt Jocketty said the estimated prognosis for RHP Jason Isringhausen's return from hip surgery would be six months. Isringhausen will be operated on Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.

--3B Scott Rolen got a day off Wednesday, and Scott Spiezio replaced him. Spiezio doubled but also struck out twice, giving him six strikeouts in the last two games.

--C Yadier Molina ended a threat in the Milwaukee eighth by picking off LF Corey Hart, the trail runner, at first base when the Brewers had runners at first and second.

--The Cardinals won three of six games at Milwaukee this year. They are 4-2 at home against the Brewers, with four left to play at the close of the season.

--The shutout suffered by the Cardinals was their eighth. Cardinals pitchers have thrown nine.

--The game-losing homer allowed by LHP Tyler Johnson was the third home run he had given up this season, two to left-handed hitters.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of starts out of 31 in which RHP Jason Marquis (14-15) has not had a decision, through Sept. 15.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't want to quit on my team." -- RHP Jason Isringhausen, who is afflicted with a sore left hip and who had been hopeful of pitching again this season but has finally been shut down. He is scheduled to have surgery today.

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