ST. LOUIS (AP) - Maybe later, Jeff Suppan will savor the send-off.
The Cardinals beat up on the former St. Louis postseason star, chasing the 37-year-old right-hander in the fifth inning of a 6-3 victory Wednesday night that gave them a three-game sweep.
Suppan tipped his cap a few steps from the dugout after a nice ovation from fans who hadn't forgotten his feats.
``It was very nice, I was very grateful,' Suppan said. ``I was still in the moment of my outing, so I wasn't able to take it all in. I'm trying to keep my team in the game.'
Carlos Beltran hit his NL-leading 14th home run in the fifth, a go-ahead two-run shot off a slider from Suppan.
``Did it go where I wanted it to go? If it was on his hands a little bit more I think it could have been different,' Suppan said. ``But it went down and in and he was able to drop the bat head.
``I thought the pitch was there and it wasn't.'
Rookie Lance Lynn (7-1) tied the Phillies' Cole Hamels for the major league victory lead.
David Freese snapped a 3-for-34 slump with a homer and RBI single as the Cardinals had more than enough offense minus injured starters Lance Berkman, Jon Jay and Allen Craig.
Will Venable hit his sixth career leadoff home run and also doubled and singled for the Padres.
San Diego was held to three or fewer runs for the seventh straight game and fell to a major league-worst 4-13 on the road.
Suppan (2-3) labored for 97 pitches in 4 2-3 innings, giving up five runs in his fifth start for San Diego. He was the 2006 NL championship series MVP for the Cardinals and was the lone pitcher on that World Series title team to win a game in each round.
Manager Bud Black expected Suppan would get a warm reception after watching David Eckstein and Ryan Ludwick also get showered with cheers when they returned to St. Louis while playing for the Padres.
``People are yelling his name out in the stands when we're hitting or taking batting practice,' Black said. ``He's recognizable, which is great, and deservingly so.
``He's pitched some great ballgames here for this organization, won some big games, and he's still very close to a lot of these guys on the current roster.'
Suppan, who spent all last year in the minors, entered 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four career starts in St. Louis as a member of the visiting team.
``He battled, yeah, he did,' Black said. ``There's no secrets, they know what he's going to throw, they knew his stuff. It just comes down to pitch execution.'
Matt Holliday singled to start the fifth ahead of Beltran's first homer in 10 days. Freese's ninth of the year made it 6-3 in the seventh.
Lynn, in the rotation for injured Chris Carpenter, recovered from a three-run first. The 25-year-old righty went six innings and worked out of frequent trouble with the Padres stranding nine runners while he was on the mound.
Victor Marte and Marc Rzepczynski worked a scoreless inning apiece and Jason Motte finished for his eighth save in 11 chances.
Venable hit his third homer of the season on Lynn's second pitch. The first five Padres reached safely with Chase Headley's RBI single making it 2-0. Cameron Maybin was caught stealing for just the second time in 15 chances on a pitchout to hurt San Diego's shot at a bigger inning.
Jesus Guzman, San Diego's cleanup man with no homers, was hit by a pitch his first two times of the season in his first two at_bats.
Skip Schumaker had an RBI double and the Cardinals added RBI singles from Freese and Matt Adams to tie it in the bottom of the first. Suppan needed 54 pitches to get through two innings, escaping damage in the second after walking Schumaker and Holliday with two outs.
NOTES: Venable is a career .413 hitter (26 for 63) against the Cardinals with four RBIs. ... In 30 career starts in St. Louis, all but five for the Cardinals, Suppan is 11-5 with a 3.06 ERA. ... Headley returned after missing one game with a lower back injury. ... Eric Stults makes his second start for the Padres Thursday at New York against the Mets. The lefty allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings against the Angels with no decision in his first start. ... Jake Westbrook was 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA in two starts last year against the Phillies, the team he faces on Thursday in St. Louis. ... Holliday is 9 for 16 against Suppan with three homers and six RBIs, although he was held to a single and walk in three trips.
The Associated Press News Service
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