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Marlins 5, Cardinals 4

The SportsXchange

MIAMI - Worst beat first Friday night as the Miami Marlins - backed by rookie Jose Fernandez's career-high 10 strikeouts - defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4, at Marlins Park.

A crowd of 15,403 watched as the Marlins, owners of baseball's worst record (20-46), beat the team with the best mark, the Cardinals (43-24).

Fernandez (4-3) tied his season-high by lasting seven innings. He threw 107 pitches, 70 of them for strikes, and allowed just three runs, including two earned.

Things got a little tense for Fernandez in the sixth inning when he gave up a run-scoring double to former University of Miami star Jon Jay, cutting the Marlins' lead to 5-3.

But Fernandez got Pete Kozma to ground out to shortstop to end the sixth and pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to end his night on a high note.

Reliever Chad Qualls allowed a run in the eighth on a Matt Holiday single and a two-out, run-scoring double to right by David Freese, cutting the Marlins' lead to 5-4.

Mike Dunn got the final out of the eighth, striking out Jay on a 3-2 fastball, and closer Steve Cishek pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, earning his eighth save in 10 tries.

The loss went to Cards starter Jake Westbrook (2-2), who started the night with a 1.62 ERA. But Westbrook, who was making his first start since missing 33 games due to right-elbow inflammation, allowed eight hits, one walk and five runs, three of them earned.

The Marlins scored twice in the second on five straight ground balls. Jeff Mathis had an RBI groundout and Fernandez produced a run-scoring single.

The Marlins took a 3-2 lead in the fourth. Adeiny Hechavarria, who reached on a fielder's choice after a Derek Dietrich single, scored on a Greg Dobbs opposite-field double to left. Hechavarria was running on the pitch.

After Juan Pierre doubled and Ed Lucas esd hit by a pitch, Giancarlo Stanton belted a two-run double that hit the base of the wall in left center, giving Miami a 5-2 lead.

The Cardinals scored two first-inning runs on RBI singles by Allen Craig and Yadier Molina.

The inning was set up by a couple of tricky ground balls. Matt Carpenter led off with a single to right that hit off the glove of Dobbs at first base. With one out, Holiday's grounder to third took a bad bounce off Lucas that was ruled an error.

NOTES: The Cardinals' Carlos Beltran singled in the fifth, extending his hit streak to 13 games. ... Marlins 1B Logan Morrison sat out his second straight game because of a back problem. ... Pierre got an infield single in his first at-bat, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. It is the 20th double-digit hitting streak of Pierre's career. ... When the Cardinals scored twice in the first inning, it marked the third time in four games that the Marlins had allowed multiple runs in the opening inning of a game. The Brewers scored a total of five first-inning runs in the Marlins' previous three-game series. ... The Cardinals are unbeaten in their past 14 series (11-0-3). ... Since June 1 and entering Friday, the Marlins' bullpen put together a 2.98 ERA, fourth best in the NL. During that span, the pen has four wins, tied for the National League lead with Arizona and Colorado.
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