The Marlins closed in on their first sweep in St. Louis since Aug. 27-29, 1996, with a 7-3 victory on Wednesday.
Each of the top five hitters in the Florida lineup had at least two hits, and finished a combined 12-for-22, as the Marlins won for the ninth time in their last 11 games.
Florida, which is 11 games above .500 for the first time since 1997, moved within a game of NL wild card-leading Philadelphia.
The Cardinals, who have dropped three straight, slipped into third place in the NL Central, three games behind first-place Houston.
Scott Rolen drove in two runs for St. Louis, and Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak to a career-high 20 games with a double. It’s the Cardinals’ longest streak since Placido Polanco hit in 20 in a row in 2001.
Pujols is batting .405 (32-for-79) during his run.
STANDINGS: Marlins - 3rd place, 12 GB, NL East. Cardinals - 2nd place, 3 GB, NL Central.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Josh Beckett (5-5, 3.18 ERA). Beckett is coming in off his first loss since the All-Star break—a 2-1 defeat to visiting Houston on Friday. The 23-year-old right-hander gave up both runs and two hits while striking out a season high-tying nine in seven innings. He is 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts since the break, striking out 25 in 20 innings. Beckett is 2-0 with a 4.85 ERA in two career starts against St. Louis.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Brett Tomko (7-7, 5.74 ERA). Tomko has won five of his last seven decisions, including a 10-9 road victory over the New York Mets on Saturday. The right-hander allowed three earned runs and nine hits, while striking out five, in 5 2-3 innings. Tomko, 0-4 with a 3.70 ERA at home this season, won 9-2 at Florida on April 25, throwing a nine-hitter for his lone complete game this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Luis Castillo, .320 avg. and 74 runs; Mike Lowell, 30 HRs and 92 RBIs; Juan Pierre, 53 SBs. Cardinals - Pujols, .372 avg., 30 HRs, 99 RBIs and 99 runs; Edgar Renteria, 25 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Marlins, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - The Marlins are 48-24 with CF Juan Pierre, 2B Luis Castillo and C Ivan Rodriguez hitting 1-2-3 in the order. … The Marlins have started every trip under manager Jack McKeon with a victory, going 6-0 and outscoring their opponents 37-14. … The Florida bullpen has a 20 1-3-inning scoreless streak. Cardinals - The last St. Louis player to hit in more than 20 straight games was Joe McEwing, who hit in 25 in a row in 1999. … 2B Fernando Vina is expected back later this month from a torn hamstring. … St. Louis, which went 2-4 against Florida last season, hasn’t won the season series since taking six of nine in 2000.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 27-28 on the road; Cardinals - 31-24 at home.
INJURIES: Marlins - RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion), 15-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL. Cardinals - C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; INF Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Morris (hand), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (calf), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kiko Calero (foot), 60-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL.