Cardinals 13, Marlins 6
“Close plays went their way, balls fell in,” Wes Helms said. “For nine in a row the ball bounced our way. In the game of baseball, sometimes it bounces the other way.”
Hanley Ramirez had three hits and Mike Jacobs had two RBIs for the Marlins, who are 65-67 and missed a chance to climb to .500 after starting the season 11-31. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team since 1900 has reached .500 after falling 20 games below, and no team has won 10 in a row after such a ragged start.
Getting manager Joe Girardi back after he spent Tuesday night back home with his pregnant wife while bracing for a possible hurricane was no help for the Marlins, who squandered a four-run lead. The NL Central-leading Cardinals have only three comebacks of four or more runs all season.
“It didn’t look good to start, I guess,” said third baseman Scott Rolen, who had three doubles, an RBI and two errors. “But we started swinging the bats a little better and putting hits together.
“That’s what we haven’t been doing.”
The Cardinals tied a franchise record with eight doubles and had a season-best 20 hits without any from recent hitting star Gary Bennett, who sprained his lower back stretching to tag out a runner trying to score on a failed squeeze bunt in the second after bobbling the ball. Bennett is 13-for-21 in his last five starts with two game-winning hits last weekend, including his first career grand slam, to beat the Cubs.
Bennett had been slated to start again Thursday in the series finale before Yadier Molina returns to the starting job from an elbow injury. Bennett thought he might be able to play Thursday.
“I just tweaked it a little bit,” Bennett said. “If I had to play through it I probably could, but it was bothering me.”
Jason Marquis (14-12) contributed two hits and an RBI to the comeback for the Cardinals, who have won four of five and are 4-1 against the Marlins this year. His hitting overshadowed the latest in a string of shaky starts.
“Those first four or five innings, they were kind of painful,” manager Tony La Russa said. “You can see him, he’s working hard, he’s elevating the ball. When he gets the ball down, good things happen.”
Marquis allowed five runs and seven hits and threw 108 pitches in five innings, also walking three and hitting two batters in the third. One of them, Miguel Cabrera, was day to day after being removed with a bruised left forearm.
“Our whole lineup changes when he’s out of the lineup,” Helms said. “It’s scary.”
A two-run double by Wilson and an RBI single by Marquis came in a four-run fourth that tied it at 5. Pujols led off the fifth with his 39th homer, his first homer since Aug. 22 and first extra-base hit in 27 at-bats, on a 1-1 pitch from Ricky Nolasco (11-9) to give the Cardinals the lead.
Juan Encarnacion added a sacrifice fly off Matt Herges in the sixth. Rolen hit his third double for an RBI and Pujols also had an RBI double off the right-field wall in a five-run seventh against Randy Messenger that made it 13-5.
Nolasco, making his first career start against the Cardinals, lasted four-plus innings. He gave up seven runs, six earned, on nine hits, and has given up 11 earned runs in six innings his last two starts.
Marquis is 2-5 with a 6.81 ERA in his last seven starts. He’s 3-8 in August the last two seasons with a 6.64 ERA. … The Marlins outscored the opposition 53-29 during their winning streak. … The Cardinals’ eight doubles tied a franchise record set previously in 1998 against the Chicago Cubs and in 1922 against the Brooklyn Robins. … Rolen, a six-time Gold Glove third baseman, had a fielding error in the first and a throwing error in the eighth.