After getting the best of baseball's top team over the weekend, the major league-worst Miami Marlins visit the desert with momentum on their side.
Keeping things going, though, could prove difficult against the undefeated Patrick Corbin.
The Marlins open a three-game set against Corbin and the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks, who try to avoid a season worst-tying fourth consecutive defeat Monday night.
Although light-hitting Miami (21-47) ranks last in the majors in several offensive categories, manager Mike Redmond's club proved plenty formidable at the plate in taking two of three from St. Louis. The Marlins, winners in five of eight, hit .308 and scored 19 runs over the weekend.
"We didn't see it. The team we saw is hitting the ball and making good pitches," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Regardless of what their record shows, they've got some talent, and they're going about things the right way right now."
Placido Polanco went 3 for 4 and combined with Juan Pierre and Justin Ruggiano to drive in six runs during Sunday's 7-2 victory.
"This is a big series win," said Pierre, batting .385 with 10 runs over a 12-game hitting streak. "To beat a team like that definitely gives you confidence."
Miami's improvement can partly be attributed to Giancarlo Stanton's return from injury. The slugging right fielder has hit safely in all six games since missing six weeks due to a strained right hamstring, going 9 for 24 with two homers, three doubles and seven RBIs.
"When you have Giancarlo back in the lineup, that's a whole different team," Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter said. "Having him back is a big advantage."
Though things are starting to go their way, the Marlins could have their hands full against Corbin (9-0, 2.28 ERA). The 23-year-old lefty, who hasn't received a decision in his last two starts, again has a chance to become the first Diamondbacks pitcher to open 10-0. Arizona has won all 13 games when he takes the mound.
Among the NL leaders in wins and ERA, Corbin compiled a 1.44 mark over his first nine starts before posting a 4.44 ERA in his last four. He surrendered four runs and eight hits over a season-low five innings Wednesday in an 8-6, 12-inning road win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In his only appearance against the Marlins, Corbin allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings in a 9-5 road win April 30, 2012.
A solid performance from Corbin could go a long way for the Diamondbacks (37-32), who have dropped six of eight. Arizona hit .181 and was limited to six runs during a three-game sweep at San Diego, falling 4-1 in Sunday's finale. Paul Goldschmidt is hitless in his last 12 at-bats, and mired in a 4-for-39 slump.
"We got outplayed in every aspect of the game in this series," said manager Kirk Gibson, whose club lost four straight April 29-May 3. "We have to redeem ourselves."
Arizona will try to do just that against 22-year-old Jacob Turner (1-0, 1.80), who's set to make his fourth start since getting called up from Triple-A New Orleans. The right-hander allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings but didn't get a decision in Tuesday's 5-4 win over Milwaukee.
Miami has dropped the first game during each of its five road trips.
"Obviously, with a (seven)-game road trip, you want to start it off with a win," Turner told MLB's official website. "It's just a matter of me keeping the team in the game, and hopefully we can score a few runs and scratch out a win."
The Marlins have dropped 10 of 14 to Arizona, including two of three May 17-19.
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