SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Jeff Suppan pitched into the seventh inning, had two hits and drove in a run to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 on Sunday night.

Einar Diaz drove in two runs as the Cardinals won for the sixth time in eight games. Their 11-game lead over the Houston Astros is their largest ever at the All-Star break.

Suppan (9-7) made his second start in San Francisco, and the first since losing at Candlestick Park on May 31, 1998, with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Jason Isringhausen gave up two hits in the ninth but struck out Lance Niekro with runners on the corners for his 25th save in 27 chances.

Noah Lowry (5-9) allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out six as the Giants lost for the sixth time in nine games.

The Giants enter the All-Star break with a losing record for the first time since 1996.

Diaz’s two-run double highlighted the Cardinals’ four-run second. Reggie Sanders hit a short popup into right field that Alex Sanchez misplayed into a triple. After Scott Rolen’s run-scoring groundout, Larry Walker and Mark Grudzielanek both singled before Diaz’s hit. Suppan added an RBI single.

Lowry retired 14 of 17 afterward.

Suppan allowed hits to the first three batters he faced, giving up an RBI single by Niekro. Jim Edmonds threw out Omar Vizquel trying to score on the play and Suppan settled down after that.

The defense also helped Suppan out of a jam in the fifth. The Giants had Mike Matheny at third and Jason Ellison at second with one out, but David Eckstein threw out Matheny trying to score on Sanchez’s grounder.

In the seventh, Pedro Feliz singled and Ellison doubled around Matheny’s flyout, ending Suppan’s night. Ray King gave up an RBI groundout to pinch-hitter Deivi Cruz, Sanchez’s run-scoring single and a single to Vizquel before Julian Tavarez came on to strike out Niekro.

Notes: Cardinals LHP Mark Mulder is expected to make his start on Friday against the Astros despite leaving his last start with a minor groin injury. He will be followed by RHP Jason Marquis and RHP Chris Carpenter. … 1B Albert Pujols stole his ninth base of the season, nearly doubling his previous career high of five last year. … Giants RHP Jason Schmidt will start Thursday at Los Angeles, followed by Lowry and RHP Brett Tomko. … All three games of the series were sellouts. … The Cardinals led by 10 games at the break in 1968.

AP-ES-07-10-05 2304EDT

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