MIAMI -- The St. Louis Cardinals, the National League's top offensive team in terms of runs and batting average, pounded Miami Marlins pitching Saturday, earning a 13-7 victory at Marlins Park.
Carlos Beltran hit two solo home runs, one from each side of the plate, and a triple, while Yadier Molina had three runs batted in for the Cardinals.
It was the 11th time in his career that Beltran hit home runs from both sides of the plate in a game.
The Cardinals (44-24), who have the best record in the majors, pounded out 17 hits, including three each by Daniel Descalso and David Freese.
Freese's third inning homer to right field snapped a 6-6 tie against the feisty Marlins (20-47), who have split the first two games of the series despite their standing as the worst team in baseball, record-wise.
The deciding game of the series will be played Sunday.
The Marlins never led Saturday and could not get back even after Freese's home run.
Credit the Cards' bullpen, which produced scoreless innings by Seth Maness, Randy Choate, Trevor Rosenthal and Keith Butler.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn (9-1) got the win, but he struggled in his five innings, allowing a career-high seven runs, all earned.
Lynn's ERA shot up 56 points to 3.56, as he allowed nine hits and three walks against a Marlins team that is last in the majors in runs scored.
The Cardinals scored five runs in the first inning, which sounds like a lot but should come as no surprise. It was the 11thh time this year the Cards have scored at least five in one inning.
And it was the fourth time in five games that the Marlins have allowed multiple runs in the first inning. During that span, the Marlins have allowed a total of 12 runs in the first inning.
Marlins starter Tom Koehler (0-5) got himself in trouble in the first inning by walking the first batter and hitting the second with a pitch.
The Cardinals cashed in with a two-run single by Molina, an RBI single by Freese, a run-scoring double by Descalso and an RBI groundout by Peter Kozma.
The Marlins battled back with four runs in the bottom of the first, and after Beltran hit a solo home run to right to lead off the second, the Marlins managed to tie the score, 6-6, on a two-run, second-inning home run to right-center by Giancarlo Stanton.
NOTES: Carlos Beltran (14 games) of the Cardinals and the Juan Pierre (11) of the Marlins extended their hitting streaks. ... The Marlins were two players short on their bench Saturday, as first baseman Logan Morrison and third baseman Placido Polanco are on the active roster but unavailable because of back injuries. ... The Marlins were three short on Friday, as backup catcher Miguel Olivo, apparently unhappy with his lack of playing time, left the team after batting practice without speaking to management. Olivo has been placed on the restricted list. He is still Marlins property but is not getting paid. ... To replace Olivo on the roster, the Marlins called up outfielder Jordan Brown. ... The Cardinals have no losing months this season, and their best showing was in May (20-7). The Cards also have a winning record against every division, including 11-4 against the NL East. ... Since breaking into the majors in 2004, Marlins reliever Chad Qualls has made 621 appearances, the second-most by any active reliever behind Francisco Rodriguez. Qualls' 42 wins are also second-most, behind Jesse Crain's 44. ... Of the Cardinals' 25 roster players, 19 have played their entire careers in the St. Louis organization. ... The Cardinals have used nine pitchers this season who are 25 or younger. ... The Cards have started a rookie pitcher 23 times this season and have a 14-9 record in those games. ... Attendance Saturday was 16,098.