Cardinals' bats back Lynn in sweep of Marlins
MIAMI -- Lance Lynn was in control over six shutout innings, and he received some help from an unsung Cardinals hero, shortstop Pete Kozma, who stepped up at the plate and in the field on a night Jhonny Peralta was given a breather.
Lynn scattered two hits and Kozma had three hits, was hit by a pitch, scored twice and drove in a run in St. Louis' 5-1 win over Miami on Thursday night at Marlins Park. St. Louis completed the three-game sweep, as Miami has dropped four straight.
"We don't make that big a deal about a sweep and we don't make that big a deal if we have one or two get away from us," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We just come back and play the game the next day and I think that's a very simplified idea about how we go about our business."
Miami right-hander Dan Haren had a tough-luck outing, giving up four runs on six hits in six-plus innings. He limited St. Louis to one run heading into the seventh, but the three batters that reached off him in the inning all scored after he exited the game.
In their three-run seventh, Kozma legged out a bunt single on what intended to be a sacrifice. He ended up scoring the third run in the inning, hustling home on Mark Reynolds' sacrifice fly on a ball second baseman Dee Gordon caught in short right field.
The Marlins avoided being shut out on Adeiny Hechavarria's two-out homer in the ninth. Miami scored just five runs in the series. Three runs were driven in by Giancarlo Stanton, who had two homers in the sweep.
"Going back to our lack of production with runners in scoring position, it's catching up to us right now," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said after his team went 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position for the series.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Haren hits Kozma: When Haren grazed Kozma's shoulder with a pitch with one out in the third inning, it ended up being a pivotal moment, because the Cardinals were able capitalize. Lynn dropped a sacrifice bunt, and Wong delivered an RBI double, putting St. Louis on the board. More >
Lynn bears down: The right-hander worked into trouble a few times in his six innings, but Lynn's most dangerous spot came in the the sixth. Protecting a 1-0 lead, Lynn walked Stanton and Justin Bour with two out, but he bounced back against Marcell Ozuna to record an inning-ending strikeout. Lynn -- who threw 92 pitches and allowed just two hits -- also stranded a runner on second in the fifth after stranding two in the third. More >
"I was able to move the ball in and out and had good movement on all the pitches," Lynn said. "I was able to mix it up when I needed to, so that was good."
Garcia bunt misplayed: With none out and runners on first and second in the seventh, pinch-hitter Greg Garcia was trying to give himself up with a sacrifice bunt. So he bunted back to Marlins reliever Mike Dunn, who spun to third before delivering to first -- allowing Garcia to beat the throw and load the bases. It opened the way to two more Cardinals runs in the frame as they scored three in the inning to take a 4-0 lead.
"For the first time in a long time, we did not handle the ball very well defensively," Jennings said. "We failed to execute. We have a saying around here, 27 outs and no more. We couldn't get the out on two sacrifice bunts."
Stanton and less else: Throughout the series, the Marlins' offense was Stanton and little else. Stanton had two homers and drove in three of the five runs Miami scored in the set. On Thursday, Stanton had a single in the fourth inning and a walk with two out in the sixth. With it still a one-run game in the sixth inning, Stanton was stranded on second.
"We signed up for 162, so we're going to play them all. Yeah, there is a level of frustration. No one likes to lose. These guys come out here every day, they put the same amount of work and effort in. You hate to waste quality starts. Dan has been our most consistent guy. He gave it to us again tonight." -- Jennings
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In his 638th MLB plate appearance, Kozma was hit by a pitch for the first time. He was was grazed on his left shoulder.
Cardinals: John Lackey (6-4, 3.41 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game home series against the Cubs on Friday at 7:15 p.m. CT. The veteran righty has allowed just three runs in 15 innings over his past two starts (2-0).
Marlins: Left-hander Justin Nicolino (1-0, 0.00) gets the ball on Friday for the opener of a three-game home series against the Dodgers at 7:10 p.m. ET. Nicolino won his MLB debut, throwing seven shutout innings at Cincinnati. Lefty Brett Anderson (3-4, 3.29) starts for Los Angeles.
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