Series: Game 1 of 3

Pittsburgh leads 1-0 (as of 5/30)

Game 1: Friday, May 30
St. Louis3
Game 2: Saturday, May 31
St. Louis3
Game 3: Sunday, June 1
St. Louis5

Pirates 7

(23-30, 15-11 away)

Cardinals 3

(27-26, 16-10 home)

    8:10 PM ET, May 30, 2003

    Busch Stadium I, St. Louis, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    PIT 021003001 7 12 0
    STL 000300000 3 8 0

    W: J. Suppan (5-5)

    L: G. Stephenson (3-4)

    Lofton's hit streak reaches 26 games in victory

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Kenny Lofton extended his streak and helped Jeff Suppan snap one of his own.

    Lofton homered to extend his hitting streak to 26 games and Jeff Suppan snapped his five-game losing skid as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-3 Friday night.

    Lofton hit his sixth homer on the first pitch of the third from Garrett Stephenson (3-4) to match Boston's Nomar Garciaparra for the longest hitting streak in the major leagues this season.

    "I don't want to talk about that," Lofton said. "Next question."

    Lofton didn't mind talking about his overall game since leaving the Giants to sign a free-agent deal in the offseason.

    "I don't think I have to prove anything," Lofton said. "I know what I can do and they know what I can do.

    "I'm just going out there doing what I do and things are working out for me."

    Randall Simon added a two-run shot in the second and Aramis Ramirez was 3-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games for the Pirates, who have won four of five. Craig Wilson had a two-run double and Jeff Reboulet had a squeeze bunt in a three-run sixth.

    "All of our components are working," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Starting pitching has been decent, our offense has been great and our bullpen has certainly turned the corner."

    The Pirates are only 11-27 against the Cardinals the last three seasons.

    The Cardinals fell to 2-3 on a 13-game homestand, the longest of the season. Tino Martinez and Mike Matheny had back-to-back RBI doubles and Stephenson added a run-scoring single in the fourth.

    "We haven't played flat," Martinez said. "The effort is there, we're just not coming through in the end.

    "But I'm not concerned about this team."

    Cardinals manager Tony La Russa arrived at Busch Stadium in the first inning after attending the sentencing in California of a man who pleaded no contest to assaulting one of La Russa's daughters in 1998.

    Suppan (5-5) lasted five innings, giving up three runs and seven hits to win for the first time in seven starts since April 22. He lost 6-0 to Matt Morris and the Cardinals last Saturday in Pittsburgh, and had a 5.80 ERA during the slump.

    "Supe didn't have his best stuff," McClendon said. "He missed his spots and a couple of times it hurt him.

    "But he gave us five innings and he gave us a chance to get a lead."

    Lofton asked for a day off on Wednesday, avoiding the Cubs' Mark Prior, and the Pirates did not play on Thursday.

    "It was good," Lofton said. "It's not like it was drastic or anything, but it's always good to come back full speed after an off-day."

    Lofton, who had two hits, is batting .406 (43-for-106) during the streak, the longest for the Pirates since Danny O'Connell also hit in 26 in a row in 1953 and one shy of the team record set by Jimmy Williams in 1899. He broke the record for a left-handed hitter, which was set by Charlie Grimm in 1923.

    Stephenson (3-4) allowed six runs and nine hits in seven innings. He had previously been 3-0 at Busch Stadium with a 1.27 ERA this year.

    Stephenson bristled a bit at a reporter who asked whether the outing would be difficult to shake off.

    "Oh, I'm fine," he said. "Don't worry about me, you worry about yourself. I'll worry about me and we'll be fine."

    Stephenson earned only the sixth RBI of his career with his single up the middle in the fourth. He's a career .081 hitter.

    Ramirez is batting .500 (28-for-56) during his hitting streak, which matches his career best set in 2000.

    Brian Giles hit an RBI double in the ninth off Steve Kline to make it 7-3.

    Game notes
    Suppan's losing streak was the longest by a Pirates pitcher since Todd Ritchie was 0-8 to start the 2001 season. Suppan lost a career-worst nine straight decisions from July 23-Sept. 18, 2002. ... St. Louis 3B Scott Rolen was 0-for-4, ending a seven-game hitting streak during which he'd gone 13-for-27 with two homers and 10 RBIs. He was 8-for-15 during the just-completed four-game series against the Astros. ... The Pirates are 7-1 in the opening game of their road series this season, with the only loss at Houston on May 12.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press