DENVER — Aaron Miles tried to downplay his first home run of the season. 0But when it came against a team that took his job away last season and then dealt him in the offseason, Miles couldn’t help but feel some satisfaction.
Miles’ two-run homer in the eighth inning helped the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.
“I want to do good every day no matter what,” said Miles, who hit his first homer since Aug. 25, 2005, when he was a member of the Rockies. He’d gone 302 at-bats without a homer. “It’s a little sweeter against these guys after what happened last year.”
Even with a juggled lineup, the Cardinals found a way to take the rubber game of the series. Tony LaRussa didn’t start NL home run leader Albert Pujols, catcher Yadier Molina and outfielder Juan Encarnacion, who come on as a pinch-hitter. He also wasn’t planning on using closer Jason Isringhausen.
“It’s like winning a doubleheader,” LaRussa said of the victory with a makeshift lineup. “They needed the playing time.”
Maybe the time off was good for starter Jeff Suppan, who has given up two runs in 20 innings since the All-Star Break. The 10 days between starts rejuvenated his arm.
Against Colorado, Suppan (8-5) delivered another masterful outing, going six innings and giving up five hits. He had three strikeouts and walked two before leaving with no outs in the seventh following Yorvit Torrealba’s solo homer.
Suppan is 3-0 against Colorado this season and 5-1 in his career. He’s at a loss to describe his success against the Rockies.
“They have a very good lineup,” Suppan said. “It’s one of those things.”
Suppan thought the reason for his recent run of good pitching had to do with his aggressiveness.
“I’m throwing pitches in a better located area,” Suppan said. “That builds confidence and aggressiveness. Obviously, you don’t want to miss down the middle of the plate.”
LaRussa can certainly see a different pitcher.
“When he gets it going, he’s very relentless,” LaRussa said.
The only mistake Suppan made was on a pitch to Torrealba, who hit his third homer of the season to left field. Torrealba’s homer kept the Rockies from being shut out in back-to-back home games for the first time in team history. St. Louis beat Colorado 1-0 on Tuesday.
After managing just one run and six hits in the last two games at Coors Field, St. Louis had eight hits off Colorado starter Aaron Cook (6-9). He went 6 2-3 innings, striking out four and walking two. The Rockies have lost 11 of the last 12 games in which Cook has started.
“We’ve had our struggles putting runs across for a number of different guys,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “Aaron has fallen in that category a little bit. Jason Jennings is in that category.”
Jennings pitched a complete game Tuesday but was saddled with a loss.
“These guys (St. Louis) are a good team,” Hurdle said. “This is a good ballclub we played. When you get it put into your face, it shows where you need to go and what you need to improve on to compete with a good team. It should heighten your awareness.”
Suppan pitched his way out of a jam in the sixth. After Garrett Atkins singled and Matt Holliday doubled with one out, Todd Helton flew out to left and Brad Hawpe grounded to third to end the threat.
Jim Edmonds had his third three-hit game of the season, including a solo homer in the third inning. It was his 16th of the season and fifth in nine games.
John Rodriguez scored two runs and had a pair of singles.
Suppan aided his own cause with a two-out RBI single to center in the fourth to give St. Louis a 4-0 lead. Suppan’s hit scored Rodriguez, who led off the inning with a single and moved to second on Miles’ groundout to third base.
Gary Bennett snapped an 0-for-11 streak with a two-run single to left in the second. The Cardinals loaded the bases on singles by Edmonds and Rodriguez and an intentional walk to Miles.
“Two (RBIs) from Gary, two from Aaron, Jimmy had a good day,” LaRussa said. “We swung the bat well.”
Notes: Colorado SS Clint Barmes went 0-for-4, snapping his career-high, 13-game hitting streak. … The Cardinals lead the majors with a 28-9 record in day games. … St. Louis has won eight of nine on the road. … The Rockies dropped below .500 (23-24) at home this season. … Pujols was given the day off Wednesday. It was his first break since coming off the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle on June 22.
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