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Bonds sits out game with a sore neck

4/23/2003

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Jeff Suppan is showing a team doesn't have to
spend big money in the offseason to pick up a starter who can win
right away.

Suppan, passed up by numerous clubs before signing a $1 million
deal, won his fourth straight start and the Pittsburgh Pirates
roughed up Giants rookie Jesse Foppert in his first career start
for a 5-2 victory over San Francisco on Tuesday night.

Pittsburgh jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first inning as Foppert,
though insisting he wasn't nervous, fought with his control by
walking two and hitting a batter.

The Giants, shorthanded with star Barry Bonds out with a sore
neck on a raw, 44-degree night, lost consecutive games for the
first time this season. They were 15-2, the second-best start in
club history, before losing 16-4 Sunday to the Dodgers.

The Pirates couldn't ask for much more from Suppan, 4-0 with a
1.37 ERA. He already has won nearly half as many games as he did in
going 9-16 for the Royals last season.

"I'm trying to keep it simple and do the things I can
control," said Suppan, who wasn't re-signed after going 39-51 for
the Royals in four seasons. "When you keep it simple, it's easier
to focus on what your job is."

Suppan gave up one run for the fourth straight start -- Edgardo
Alfonzo hit his second homer in the third -- and limited San
Francisco to seven hits over seven-plus innings. The Giants had
scored at least four runs in each of their previous seven games.

Before the game, the Giants got more bad news in what already
has been a tough week. Pitcher Jason Schmidt left the team after
learning his mother died in Longview, Wash., following a long
illness. Only a few days before, general manager Brian Sabean's
father, Roy, died of cancer and Barry Bonds' father, former Giants
star Bobby Bonds, had surgery for brain cancer.

"It was a little tough before the game, especially for some of
the young guys," manager Felipe Alou said. "I don't think it had
anything to do with the first inning. I tried to talk to Jason
before he left, and I don't think he knew who was trying to talk to
him."

Foppert (0-1), a converted first baseman considered the Giants'
top pitching prospect, needed 47 pitches and nearly 25 minutes to
get through the adventuresome first, finished off by two-run
singles from Pokey Reese and Jack Wilson.

Matt Stairs got it going with a run-scoring single that scored
Jason Kendall, who walked and moved to second on Benito Santiago's
passed ball.

Foppert hit Aramis Ramirez with a pitch and walked former Giants
outfielder Reggie Sanders around Randall Simon's force-play
grounder. Reese then hit an opposite-field single to right and
Wilson blooped a broken-bat single into left, with Reese -- who was
running on the pitch -- scoring from first.

"I think he was a little nervous," Reese said of Foppert. "He
couldn't find it early and we were able to jump on him."

Foppert disagreed, saying neither his nerves nor the chilly
night bothered him. Alou was certain the 22-year-old wasn't
nervous, saying, "That's not his personality.'

"I just couldn't get ahead (in the count) to save my life,"
Foppert said. "It's not what I wanted to do in my first start, but
I'll learn from it and put it in the past."

Foppert lasted four innings in only his third career appearance,
giving up five runs and five hits and walking four. He is expected
to make at least one more start for the injured Ryan Jensen.

Suppan managed to stay out of big innings despite giving up
three doubles, never allowing consecutive hits until Alfonzo and
Rich Aurilia singled to start the eighth. Scott Sauerbeck later got

Santiago to ground into a double play to end that threat.

No doubt the Giants missed Bonds, who woke up Tuesday with the
stiff neck and immediately sought treatment. He is 9-for-19 with
four homers and nine RBIs since PNC Park opened in 2001.

Game notes
Suppan became the first NL starter to get four wins this
season. ... The Pirates are 7-0 when scoring four or more runs.
They scored more than four only once in 13 games until beating the
Cubs 8-2 Sunday. ... Pittsburgh has won two straight after dropping
six of seven. ... Suppan was 0-2 with an 8.71 ERA in two previous
starts against the Giants, both with Arizona. ... San Francisco has
lost consecutive road games after winning its first eight away from
home. ... Pirates 1B Randall Simon left with a mild concussion
caused when he collided with Ray Durham's elbow on a ground ball in
the seventh. Simon spun around while making the tag and landed on
his backside. ... Suppan's best start was in 1997, when he was 5-0
in his first 12 appearances for the Red Sox.

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