Miami (19-10) at St. Louis (17-14)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 1:45 pm EDT Thu May 5, 2011
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With ace Josh Johnson(notes) on the mound, the Florida Marlins have a good chance to end another successful road trip on a positive note.

Johnson seeks to carry over his April success into May when the Marlins conclude a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday at Busch Stadium.

Johnson (3-0, 0.88 ERA) has allowed four earned runs and struck out 39 batters over 41 innings in his six starts this season. In addition, the 18 hits he’s yielded are the fewest since 1900 by a pitcher with a minimum of 40 innings pitched before May 1.

“You see his ERA, that’s Bob Gibson stuff right there,” Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker told the Marlins’ official website. “He’s pitching now more than just throwing. Before, he was more of a power guy. Now, he’s a combination of power and finesse. That makes it doubly tough.”

The right-hander gave up five hits in seven scoreless innings Saturday but the Marlins’ bullpen could not hold a three-run lead in a 4-3, 10-inning road loss to the Reds.

Johnson, 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals, will try to help the Marlins (19-10) finish 5-2 on their trip.

Florida is 9-5 away from home and has yet to lose a road series. The Marlins have also won five of their last seven games in St. Louis, including two of the first three in this set.

Mike Stanton(notes) hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth inning and Emilio Bonifacio(notes) added three hits in Wednesday’s 8-7 victory over the NL Central-leading Cardinals (17-14).

Florida closer Leo Nunez(notes) gave up a homer to Jon Jay(notes) in the bottom of the ninth, but got Matt Holliday(notes) to ground into a game-ending double play for his 11th save in as many chances.

“He’s been doing a great job,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said.

Stanton has hit three of his five homers in the last four games as he continues to recover from a slow start to his season major league season.

“His power is just out the door,” Rodriguez said.

Bonifacio is 12 for 28 with two doubles and two triples in his last seven games.

Holliday went 2 for 4 with a RBI despite the double play Wednesday for the Cardinals, who committed four errors en route to their third loss in four games following a four-game winning streak.

“It was a tough night for us, but it’s part of the game,” catcher Yadier Molina(notes) said.

Albert Pujols(notes) is 2 for 18 in his last five games, but 4 for 12 with a homer against Johnson.

After giving up 20 earned runs and going 1-2 in his first four starts, scheduled St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook(notes) (2-2, 6.53) has allowed two runs to go 1-0 in his last two. He gave up both of those runs in six innings Saturday, when he did not figure in the decision of a 3-2 win at Atlanta.

“It’s a good feeling as a starting pitcher if you put up a quality start your odds are pretty good with our bats,” Westbrook said.

The right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA in two starts against the Marlins. He allowed three runs and struck out nine in seven innings of a 5-4, 10-inning win at Florida on Aug. 7.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Johnson SD vs. J. Westbrook StL
3-1 Record 12-9
1.64 ERA 4.66
56 K 104
20 BB 73
0.98 WHIP 1.53


Thursday, May 5