The Florida Marlins are doing their part to stay in the race in the National League East. They just need a little help from the rest of the division.
The Marlins look to continue their recent hot streak as they open a four-game series with the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The Marlins have won eight of their last 11 games, and took two of three from division rival Washington over the weekend for their season-high fourth straight series win. However, they fell 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves with Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Nationals after starting the week 4 1/2 games out of first.
The Braves have won six straight and now lead Florida by 6 1/2 . The Nationals, who were swept in three games by Atlanta earlier in the week, are in second place, five games back.
“You’d like to have the sweep, but our philosophy has been go in there and win every series, and that’s what we did,” said Marlins manager Jack McKeon, whose team is opening a nine-game road trip. “Sometimes, you want to be a hog, you wind up eating crap.”
The Marlins do not face another NL East opponent until Sept. 2, when they host the New York Mets, but play 25 of their final 29 games against division foes.
Mike Lowell had three hits for Florida Sunday, improving his average to .244 — the highest he’s been since the first week of the season. Lowell finished July with a .322 average—72 points higher than in any other month this season.
Miguel Cabrera added two hits, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.
The Marlins were rumored to be shopping Lowell and starter A.J. Burnett as Sunday’s non-waiver trade deadline approached, but decided not to part ways with the two marquee players.
The Cardinals have won four of six, including Sunday’s 11-inning, 7-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jim Edmonds was supposed to get the day off, but hit a pinch-hit double in the seventh and a two-run homer in the 11th — his third homer in four games.
Mark Grudzielanek also homered for the Cardinals, who own the best record in the National League. Jason Isringhausen got three outs for his 29th save in 32 attempts and his 130th with the Cardinals, moving past Todd Worrell for second place on the team list behind Lee Smith’s 160.