Miami (62-51) at St. Louis (58-55)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Thu Aug 7, 2003
  • TV: WPXM, FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Florida Marlins look to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium for the first time in nearly seven years as the teams meet for the final time this season.

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.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Beckett LAD vs. B. Tomko Cin
9-8 Record 13-9
3.04 ERA 5.28
152 K 114
56 BB 57
1.32 WHIP 1.52