Florida’s pitching staff has slowed down St. Louis’ power-packed lineup the last two games. But the Marlins’ hitters haven’t been doing their part.
The defending World Series champions will look to get their offense going as they try to avoid a three-game sweep against the major league-leading Cardinals at Pro Player Stadium.
For the second game in a row, St. Louis won without much production from its vaunted lineup Wednesday. Jeff Suppan allowed only two hits in eight-plus innings, and the Cardinals extended their winning streak to seven by beating the Marlins 1-0.
Former Marlin Edgar Renteria singled home the lone run for the Cardinals, who improved to 20-5 since the All-Star break. They’ve won the first two games of this series by a combined score of 3-1.
The Marlins have given up eight hits in two games against the Cardinals, who lead the NL in hitting and added three-time NL batting champion Larry Walker to their lineup last week.
St. Louis’ pitchers have been even better, however. They limited Florida to one run Tuesday, and Suppan took a no-hitter into the sixth on Wednesday.
“I was aware I was throwing one,” Suppan said. “There was a guy in the front row who kept telling me every time I went out there.”
Time is quickly running out for the struggling Marlins. They are nine games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East, and 6 1/2 back of the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card standings.
“I don’t feel any clock,” Florida’s Carl Pavano said. “It’s over when they tell us it’s over.”
That will be soon if the Marlins don’t start scoring more. They’ve totaled two runs in the last 33 innings.
The Marlins will try to solve Cardinals starter Matt Morris, who is 6-1 with a 3.30 ERA in nine career games against Florida, including six starts.