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09/27/10 7:31 PM ET

Suppan tries to keep Cards alive

The Cardinals fended off elimination from postseason contention for another day on Monday, and now they'll look to Jeff Suppan and a little outside help to stay alive on Tuesday.

St. Louis is one loss or Cincinnati win from seeing its hold on the NL Central formally ended. Suppan will try to do his part against one of his former teams.

Suppan was solid in his last outing, which just so happened to come against Pittsburgh and Tuesday's counterpart, Brian Burres. Suppan earned just his second win of the season with five innings of one-run ball.

He'll face a Pirates squad that, by now, has reached many of the losing milestones it had hoped to avoid in 2010. The Bucs surged past 81 losses back in August, handing them an 18th consecutive losing season. They just crossed the 100-loss mark for the eighth time in franchise history, but just the third time since 1955.

Pittsburgh does, however, have a chance to do something in Septmeber that it hasn't done all season: play .500 baseball for an entire month.

The Pirates are 11-13 in September so far, with six games to play. To reach .500, they'll have to win some games on the road -- which they haven't done much of since the All-Star break.

The Bucs, in fact, are just 4-22 away from PNC Park since the All-Star break -- including losses in 22 of their last 24. Four of the losses have come at Busch Stadium.

"You need to play well in your division," manager John Russell said. "I think this last go-around in our division, we've played better baseball. We didn't necessarily win more, but we played better baseball. I think it's important for our players to understand that you need to win at home, you need to win in your division -- and you need to be close to .500 on the road. Those are your goals."

Pirates: Tabata, Walker get things started right
One of the ongoing bright spots of the season for Pittsburgh has been the play at the top of the order from rookies Jose Tabata and Neil Walker. The two are trying to become the first pair of Pirates rookies to each hit for a .300 average since Jimmy Williams and Ginger Beaumont turned the trick -- back in 1899.

Cardinals: Wainwright may miss start
Adam Wainwright may have pitched his final game for the Cardinals this season, with elbow discomfort leaving his status for Thursday's start against the Rockies up in the air.

"Very insignificant," Wainwright said. "They're going to wait and see how things feel -- and even if things feel great, they still might just play it safe."

Manager Tony La Russa, though, doesn't want to risk anything with his young ace.

"We're definitely not going to push him," La Russa said. "If his elbow remains stiff, with some soreness, there's no way you would push him."

Worth noting
Tabata has the second-most hits in the National League since the All-Star break, trailing only Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez. Since he made his Major League debut on June 9, Tabata has 114 hits, tied for second in the NL with Matt Holliday and behind Gonzalez. ... Albert Pujols was intentionally walked for the 38th time on Monday night. Pujols has been walked intentionally more than 17 Major League teams. ... St. Louis has won seven straight at home against the Pirates.

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


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