St. Louis' Suppan keeps Mariners quiet in return
| June 16, 2010 9:00 PM
ST. LOUIS - Tony La Russa flashed back to 2006 with a postseason star on the mound. Jeff Suppan did his best to stay in the moment.
The right-hander was wearing his old No. 37 jersey and even got his old locker stall back after signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. Then he was a success in his comeback start for a franchise where he thrived earlier this decade, setting the tone for a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
"I couldn't help but think, seeing him back out there, how many really big games he pitched for us," La Russa said. "I mean, games that meant a huge difference to the history of this franchise.
"You couldn't help but think about that. I couldn't."
Albert Pujols homered a day after getting bopped in the head and Colby Rasmus' two-run shot was the go-ahead hit for the Cardinals.
Pujols is 6 for 10 with five RBIs in three games, snapping a 1-for-18 skid that dropped him below .300. He's a career .352 hitter in interleague play, best in the majors.
Suppan, signed this week after being cut by Milwaukee, worked hard to get through four innings in his first start for St. Louis since Game 4 of the 2006 World Series. It was his first start since early April and, after working out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, he allowed only one run.
"It's kind of surreal," Suppan said. "I was trying to keep my emotions out of my pitching and just go out and focus on facing the Seattle Mariners."
Suppan, who was 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA with the Brewers, also doubled and scored in a three-run fourth.
Ichiro Suzuki had an infield hit to extend his interleague hitting streak to 19 games and Milton Bradley homered for the Mariners, who have lost seven of eight. Half of Bradley's six homers have come in the last five games, and he also walked twice.
Bradley's leadoff homer in the fourth was the only damage off Suppan. The MVP of the 2006 NL championship series struck out four, all of them in a row starting with pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-6) in the second.
The Mariners also loaded the bases in the fifth against Blake Hawksworth (1-3) and came up empty. Josh Wilson failed each time with the bases loaded, both times on sharp grounders to short.
"You're at a big advantage because the guy's got to come to you," Wilson said. "I don't think I was trying too hard. I felt comfortable and I got the good pitches to hit, especially that first at-bat."
Ryan Franklin allowed a homer to pinch-hitter Ryan Langerhans in the ninth before getting his 12th save in 13 chances.
Rowland-Smith also lasted only four innings and gave up three runs, all in the fourth. David Freese doubled ahead of Rasmus' 13th homer and Suppan doubled with two outs and scored on a single by ninth-place hitter Brendan Ryan.
"I threw a curveball to Rasmus that he hit pretty well," Rowland-Smith said. "I wasn't expecting him to hit the ball that well, that curveball."
Mariners designate Snell: Seattle pitcher Ian Snell, 0-5 with a 6.41 ERA, was designated for assignment.
The Mariners recalled right-hander Brian Sweeney, signed as a minor league free agent on April 16, from Triple-A Tacoma.
Snell was acquired by the Mariners last July from Pittsburgh.
"The numbers didn't work," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. "We tried it a couple times, tried to find a role where he would be serviceable with us, and he just didn't execute."