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Suppan Comes Through For K.C.

It's almost time for the Chicago Cubs to decide if they will reinforce their roster or start replacing it.

Jeff Suppan (5-5) won for the first time in three weeks and had a run-scoring single as the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Sunday.

"From a player's standpoint, you can't start worrying," losing pitcher Kevin Tapani said. "It doesn't matter. We realize we've got to get into a good stretch."

After winning their first two games since the break, the Cubs have lost two straight. Saturday, Minnesota rookie Joe Mays shut them out.

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Game Summary

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  • It was Suppan's turn Sunday, as he allowed two runs, eight hits, struck out three and walked one in 6 2-3 innings, retiring 14 straight at one point. He had to leave the game after Mickey Morandini lined a ball off his shin, but said he was not seriously injured.

    Suppan beat the Cubs with his bat as well.

    With the game tied 1-1 in the fifth, Suppan singled inside the third-base bag to score Tim Spehr.

    "He's not the prettiest guy in the world, but he doesn't give ground," said Royals manager Tony Muser. "He whacked that ball pretty good."

    "I was just trying to hit it on the ground," Suppan said.

    Tim Spehr's three-run homer off Tapani (6-6) made it 5-1 in the sixth.

    With a runner on second and two outs, Cubs manager Jim Riggleman decided to walk Joe Randa, who entered hitting .323, to get to the lighter-hitting (.212) Spehr. But Spehr hit Tapani's 1-2 pitch over the left-field wall.

    "I know Spehr's got power, but Joe's been so hot," Riggleman said. "We wanted to pitch to the guy not getting a lot of at-bats."

    After allowing a run in the first inning and Curtis Goodwin's single with one out in the second, Suppan retired 14 straight Cubs before Henry Rodriguez homered in the seventh to cut the lead to 5-2.

    Suppan is now 14-18 lifetime.

    "Just because you might not know them doesn't mean they're not good pitchers," Grace said. "You still gotta go out and play them. If they weren't good, they wouldn't be i the big leagues."

    The Cubs came close to tying it in the ninth off Scott Service. Jeff Reed hit a one-out triple to right field. After Goodwin flied out, pinch-hitter Jeff Blauser walked and Mickey Morandini doubled over the head of Jermaine Dye in right to score Reed and Blauser.

    Service was able to hold on for his fifth save.

    It was Tapani's first start since July 9, when he was forced to leave early with a bruised right thumb, suffered on a comebacker to the mound. He pitched seven innings in defeat.


  • Cubs closer Rod Beck pitched for Triple-A Iowa Saturday night in his first rehab appearance since being disabled May 17. Beck threw one inning and faced four batters, allowing one hit while striking out two. Doctors performed surgery May 22 to remove a bone spur from Beck's pitching elbow. Beck will likely pitch in one more rehab assignment before being activated.
  • Starting pitcher Jon Lieber threw on the side Sunday. Lieber was forced to leave Friday's game against Minnesota after being struck on his pitching forearm by a Torii Hunter line drive. Manager Jim Riggleman expects Lieber to take his regular turn in the rotation Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
  • Former second baseman and current spring training coach Ryne Sandberg attended Sunday's game.
  • Randa entered Sunday hitting .500 (28-for-56) against the National League in 1999.
  • Suppan's RBI was the first by a Royals' pitcher since interleague play began in 1997.
  • Dye had nine putouts in right field, a new Royals record.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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