A deep bullpen has helped the St. Louis Cardinals post a winning record so far on their seven-game road trip.
The Cardinals look for their third straight victory over the banged-up Florida Marlins on Saturday night when the teams continue a four-game set.
St. Louis (60-53) survived a shaky outing Friday from rookie Lance Lynn(notes), who pitched the bottom of the ninth with regular closer Fernando Salas(notes) unavailable. Lynn allowed a hit and two walks but got his first career save after striking out Mike Stanton(notes) - 5 for 10 in this series - to end the game and preserve a 3-2 win.
“You’re facing the next young superstar in our league with the bases loaded and nowhere to go with him and you end up getting a punchout, that’s a dramatic moment,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
St. Louis’ bullpen has allowed two runs in 19 innings and notched all three victories through five games of this trip, which started Monday in Milwaukee. The Cardinals, however, remain three games behind the Central-leading Brewers.
Lance Berkman(notes) had his first triple of the season Friday before doubling home Albert Pujols(notes) with the go-ahead run in the eighth. Berkman is 7 for 15 in his last four games at Sun Life Stadium.
Stanton finished with three hits, but shortstop Emilio Bonifacio(notes) and second baseman Joe Thurston(notes) - in the majors for the first time since 2009 - combined to go 1 for 9 with four strikeouts for the Marlins (55-57), who have dropped six of eight at home.
Bonifacio and Thurston were pressed into service while Hanley Ramirez(notes) deals with a left shoulder sprain and Omar Infante(notes) is on the disabled list with a broken finger. Center fielder Mike Cameron(notes) left in the sixth with a sprained left hand after going 2 for 2.
Cameron was due to have Saturday off and could return for Sunday’s finale.
The Marlins will next send out Ricky Nolasco(notes) (8-7, 3.92 ERA) in his first home appearance since the worst start of his career in Miami. The right-hander was ripped for nine runs in 1 1-3 innings of a 14-3 loss to San Diego on July 20.
“The thing I tell myself is you can’t let this affect my next start,” Nolasco said.
All he’s done is win consecutive games since then, allowing three runs in 12 1-3 innings. Despite giving up 12 hits in 6 2-3 innings, Nolasco yielded one run in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Atlanta.
However, Nolasco is 0-3 with a 7.67 ERA in five starts against the Cardinals.
Coming off his shortest outing since May 31, Chris Carpenter (6-8, 3.85) takes the mound for the Cardinals.
The right-hander was tagged for five runs in five innings during Monday’s 6-2 loss to Milwaukee. It was his first defeat since June 17, when he dropped to 1-7 after being beaten by Kansas City.
Carpenter struggled against Florida on May 4 but failed to get a decision, allowing six runs and 10 hits in six innings of an 8-7 loss. He’s 3-3 in 11 career starts against the Marlins but hasn’t beaten them since Aug. 29, 2005.
The Cardinals have lost 13 of Carpenter’s 23 appearances this season, matching the number of losses they had in his 35 starts last year.