Ottawa Citizen

Cards’ starter Suppan can hit a little, too

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ST. LOUIS • Jeff Suppan is the St. Louis Cardinals’ big- game pitcher, the MVP of the National League championsh­ip series who is used to the pressure of series clinchers.

Detroit’s Jeremy Bonderman is well rested and has a 3.00 earned- run average in two starts for the Detroit Tigers this postseason, including a clincher of his own. It appears to be a pretty even pitching matchup for Game 4 except in one regard: Suppan can handle the bat.

The unassuming right- hander, a 106- 101 career pitcher and 12- game winner this year for St. Louis, homered off the New York Mets’ Steve Trachsel in Game 3 of the National League Championsh­ip Series.

Bonderman, meanwhile, is 0for- 19 with 12 strikeouts in his career, with no sacrifices.

“ I wouldn’t say I’ve come close to a hit, no,” said Bonderman, who got some work in the batting cage during the Tigers’ break. “ I’m not a very good hitter, so I don’t really worry about it too much,” he said.

The Cardinals aren’t relying on Suppan for his offence, though. They just want him to keep doing what he has done all along: win big games.

“ This guy has been such nails for us,” manager Tony La Russa said. “ I don’t think you can give him enough credit.”

Suppan pitched two series clinchers in 2004 to help the Cardinals reach the World Series. He has dominated in this postseason, and allowed only one run in two games against the Mets. In Game 7 of the NLCS, he allowed one run on two hits in seven- plus innings in a 3- 1 victory. Suppan also threw eight shutout innings in Game 3, helping the Cardinals take the series lead.

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