ST. LOUIS -- With his first home run since June 2, Christian Yelich flipped a two-run deficit into a Marlins advantage and eventual 5-2 Independence Day win over the Cardinals on Tuesday at Busch Stadium. The victory was Miami's first in five tries against St. Louis this season.
Handcuffed by Cardinals starter Lance Lynn for five innings, the Marlins burst out for five runs (two earned) while sending nine batters to the plate in the sixth. After Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton reached with one out, Yelich crushed a fastball into the left-center-field seats for a 3-2 Miami lead.
"We've just been fighting back all year," Yelich said. "The offense just passes the baton. We believe in each other to get the job done. Today, I was able to do it."
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The blast snapped a stretch of 106 homerless at-bats for the center fielder.
"I actually threw the ball pretty well. Just one bad pitch cost me three runs," Lynn said. "I was intending for it to be an inside pitch and for him to swing and miss. It ran back to the middle. I have to make sure I make that pitch right there."
For Lynn, the long ball has become an all-too-familiar impediment. He's given up a career-high 20 over 95 1/3 innings this year, becoming the sixth pitcher in franchise history to allow at least 20 before the All-Star break. Marcell Ozuna followed Yelich's blast with a single to chase Lynn, who hasn't finished six innings in seven of his past eight starts.
Upon Lynn's exit, the Marlins padded their lead with a two-out, two-RBI single from JT Riddle. The offensive outburst helped Jose Urena improve to 7-3 as a starter. Urena no-hit the Cardinals for four innings before serving up a two-run homer to Greg Garcia.
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"Big hit by Riddle later that kind of gave us some distance and some breathing room, which shouldn't get overlooked, either," Yelich said.
Urena improved to 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA and paces the club in wins.
"Jose keeps us in the game," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Many times, Jose's kept us in games. He pitches quickly. Guys like playing behind him. Usually that energy is good when he pitches."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A stinger: Stanton helped set up Yelich's go-ahead homer by blistering a full-count fastball 117.6 mph off the bat, according to Statcast™. It went right toward Matt Carpenter, who was positioned on the shortstop side of second base, but Carpenter couldn't squeeze the out. When Carpenter attempted to recover and throw Stanton out, his throw was way off line. Carpenter, making his second start of the season at second, was charged with an error.
"First of all, nobody would normally be there," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, alluding to Carpenter's extreme shift. "Obviously just good positioning to have them in the right spot, and [Carpenter] used his instincts to make a good jump. Then to use your instincts to get to your feet and make a quality throw. It's a tough play. But I know he'd like to have another shot at it."
Escape act: With runners on the corners and a two-run lead to hold, Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough notched key strikeouts of Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty, the Cardinals' two- and three-hole hitters, in the seventh. Pham swung through a slider, while Piscotty was frozen by one to end the threat.
The strikeout helped pick up Gordon and Stanton, who had allowed Jose Martinez's pinch-hit single earlier in the inning to drop between them in shallow right field. Pham and Piscotty combined for seven of St. Louis' 12 whiffs.
"With Claw on the mound, you know he's got putaway pitches," Miami catcher A.J. Ellis said. "The putaway slider to Pham. He set up that 3-2 slider to Piscotty by working him in a little bit early in the at-bat to freeze him on that. Huge momentum change. Killed any momentum they had."
"Not that I've proven myself, but I think people know what I can do. You can't add any pressure to yourself. Just go out and play and compete and do all your preparation and let it take care of itself." -- Garcia, on trying to produce while he fills in for an injured Kolten Wong
"That's a tough error. It was like 180 mph off the bat, or something like that. A new record. It's tough. It almost took Carpenter into center field with him. We'll see. You never know what the outcome of that will be." -- Yelich, on Carpenter being charged with an error on Stanton's liner tracked by Statcast™ at 117.6 mph
After 291 plate appearances as a right-handed hitter, Lynn swung from the other side of the plate Tuesday. Frustrated by his .077 batting average this season, Lynn convinced the Cardinals to let him try swinging from the other side, which is something he said he's done in the batting cage for years. Lynn dropped down a bunt in his first plate appearance and grounded out to short his next time up and is now hitting .071 in 2017. More >
Marlins:Edinson Volquez (4-8, 3.97 ERA) makes his 17th and final start of the first half Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. ET at St. Louis. The right-hander has logged 88 1/3 innings, and he's struck out 80 with 51 walks. Volquez is 5-6 (4.27) lifetime vs. St. Louis.
Cardinals: Cleanup hitter Jedd Gyorko hopes to return to the lineup Wednesday when the Cards continue their series against the Marlins with a 7:15 p.m. CT game. Mike Leake, who ranks fifth in the National League with a 2.97 ERA, will start for St. Louis to close out his first half.
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