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07/30/10 10:42 PM ET

Cardinals, Pirates continue divisional clash

Jeff Suppan doesn't have time to worry about his spot in the rotation.

The veteran right-hander, who gets the start Saturday against the Pirates, holds the Cardinals' position in the National League Central -- they are separated by just a half-game from the Reds -- in his hands.

Suppan, who is a candidate to get bumped from the rotation when Kyle Lohse returns from the disabled list, has his history against the Bucs in his favor. He's 13-3 over the past 10 years against Pittsburgh, but he has yet to record a victory this season against any club.

His previous start was nothing to write home about. Battling the Cubs, Suppan allowed five earned runs in six innings of work and walked three batters. But his manager, Tony La Russa, wouldn't fault him entirely -- for this or any of his other losses -- maintaining that he had kept them in the game.

"He gave us a chance," La Russa said. "I can't remember a game where he didn't give us a chance to win. Our offense hadn't been productive. He is what we think he is. He's a very competitive guy, and he's got to figure out a way to get outs."

On the other side of the field, the Pirates haven't officially announced who will be getting their outs on the hill. It's expected to be right-hander Daniel McCutchen, who is likely to be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis in time for the start.

This will be McCutchen's third stint of the year with the Pirates. The young hurler is just 1-4 with an 8.58 ERA in six starts this season, but he'll get another chance to shine in the big leagues against a tough lineup on Saturday.

Pirates: Kratz makes statement
Pirates catcher Erik Kratz sent a message to Cardinals baserunners on Friday night: Don't run on me. Kratz threw out three would-be basestealers -- Matt Holliday, Brendan Ryan and Jon Jay. Kratz's showing is even more impressive considering the Pirates' backstop had only caught 11 runners in the first 101 games of the season. The Cardinals hadn't run themselves into three outs attempting to steal in one game since April 4, 2003.

Cardinals: Jay enjoying successful run
The Cards' offensive woes may have continued on Friday night in St. Louis, but Jay isn't struggling at all, enjoying a stellar month of July at the dish. Entering play on Friday, Jay led all Major Leaguers with a .438 mark during the month, which he only helped with a three-hit night at the plate. Jay has now hit safely in 19 of his past 23 games.

Worth noting
The Cards agreed to terms with supplemental first-round pick Seth Blair on Friday. ... Andrew McCutchen returned to the lineup Friday after missing Thursday's game with shoulder stiffness. ... The Pirates will face the Cardinals 12 times in the final 61 games of the season.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.