MIAMI • Two homers and a dynamic catch in right field by Marlins uber-star Giancarlo Stanton will get all of the attention coming out of Miami’s 6-5 victory Monday at Marlins Park.
That works out well for the Cardinals who, despite a pulse in the ninth inning, had a forgettable evening.
Back in the comfort of the National League, the Cardinals played a raggedy brand of baseball that shouldn’t have made Monday’s game as close as it was.
Shelby Miller meandered through five innings and allowed five runs on eight hits. The two homers he allowed were both by Stanton, and though the Cardinals did answer the three runs Stanton provided to momentarily tie the game, their sloppiness would catch up with them.
The Cardinals ran their way out of a couple potential rallies when Matt Carpenter failed to tag up on a fly ball to center and move 90 feet closer to home from second base. In the eighth inning, Jhonny Peralta’s fifth hit in two days put him at first base. However, he strayed too far from the bag on a line drive by Jon Jay and was caught racing back for the double play. The Cardinals allowed a run to score on an error by A.J. Pierzynski in the seventh inning that effectively iced the game.
The Marlins just had more facets of their mediocre game than the Cardinals had of theirs. Stanton made a diving catch in deep right field to rob an extra-base hit from Kolten Wong. Christian Yelich made a sliding catch in foul territory on the opposite side of the field to take an at-bat away from Carpenter. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria fielded a grounder behind second base and decided to turn the double play himself.
He raced to second and as he tapped the base threw to first to get Matt Adams in the inning-ending double play.
In the sixth inning, the first two batters the Cardinals sent to the plate reached base on singles. They didn’t get home and they barely advanced. The next three baters, including Jay and Oscar Taveras, were retired by reliever Chris Hatcher to preserve the win for starter Tom Koehler.
In the ninth, Wong sneaked an extra-base hit past a diving Stanton to score Carpenter and bring Matt Holliday to the plate as the tying run. Holliday had reached base in all four of his plate appearances before the ninth. He had two doubles to the spacious gaps at Marlins Park and a walk. He had to leg out an infield single to bring Wong home and tighten the game.
Matt Adams struck out to end it.
• BOX SCORE: Marlins 6, Cardinals 5
• CARDS TALK: Game Day Thread vs. Marlins
Stanton does it all
As if catapulting long-range homers to put the Marlins ahead wasn’t enough, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton had to go and steal an extra base or two from the Cardinals tonight, too.
Stanton, the National League’s leading slugger, hit two home runs – the second longer than the first – to build the Marlins’ 3-0 lead this evening at Marlins Park.
The Cardinals were able to answer and tie the game, but have fallen quiet since Stanton stole at least a double (and perhaps a triple) from No. 2 hitter Kolten Wong. In the fifth inning, Wong launched a pitch deep to right field. Stanton raced toward the right-field wall to leap, catch the ball, and the skid onto the warning track, as if doing a belly flop into the dirt.
Pitcher Tom Koehler pointed to Stanton for approval.
A sparse crowd at Marlins Park gave Stanton a standing ovation for the catch, one that was far louder than either of the cheers he got for the home run.
But then, they’re probably used to that.
Stanton tagged Shelby Miller with a two-run homer in the first inning. He followed with a mammoth shot to the concourse that rises some 30 feet above the ground out in left-center field. The estimates of the home run have ranged from 440 feet to as much as 460 feet from home plate. It traveled far past a sign that reads 427 feet in front of the concourse.
The Cardinals rallied to tie the score, 3-3, with three runs in the top of the fourth. Two of them came on Jon Jay’s home run. The Miami native and University of Miami product, earned a promotion to seventh in the order with a home run this past weekend and some quality recent at-bats, manager Mike Matheny said. Jay popped a two-run homer to the Marlins’ bullpen to tie the score after A.J. Pierzynski’s two-out RBI single had provided the Cardinals’ first run.
The Marlins pulled back in the lead in the bottom of the inning on Adeiny Hechavarria’s RBI triple and easy trot home for a 5-3 lead on Christian Yelich’s two-out single.
Miller completed five innings and allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks.
Cards fail to take advantage of walks
As they did Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, two of the first three Cardinals to come to the plate also reached base via walk.
As they did Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, neither scored.
The Cardinals failed to exploit two walks in the first inning by Miami starter Tom Koehler and did not come through with a run or a lead for starter Shelby Miller. Matt Carpenter worked a five-pitch walk to open the game, and after Kolten Wong's strikeout Matt Holliday followed with a walk to move Carpenter into scoring position. Matt Adams tagged a fly ball to deep center field here at Marlins Park. It was tracked down for an out, but Carpenter curiously did not tag up on the play and advance to third base.
It didn't matter as Jhonny Peralta flew out to end the inning.
It was a similar escape that the Cardinals allows Ubaldo Jimenez on Saturday at Camden Yards. They got two walks from the first three batters in that first inning as well, and then didn't score and didn't walk much more in the game.
The Cardinals' win Sunday inched them back into second place as they left Baltimore for Miami and a three-game series here.
The news before the game -- if you weren't keeping up with the chat over at StlToday.com -- was Oscar Taveras sliding down to No. 8 in the order. Manager Mike Matheny explained that he has to keep Taveras in the lineup but cannot ignore the better production recently from other players. Taveras has had trouble with his timing at the plate -- especially on fastballs -- and that has led to his recent stretch with just enough production to keep a hitting streak going, and not much else. Moving to the eighth spot as the Cardinals move back to the National League could be interesting for the rookie. He may be pitched around a bit more because of the pitcher planted behind him, and that could test his patience as much as his timing.
Here's the lineup that will back Miller:
1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
2. Kolten Wong, 2B
3. Matt Holliday, LF
4. Matt Adams, 1B
5. Jhonny Peralta, SS
6. A.J. Pierzynski, C
7. Jon Jay, CF
8. Oscar Taveras, RF
9. Shelby Miller, P
The chat has be working a little bit from behind this evening when combined with the travel. So I'll update what I can here through the evening on the blog. I'll do the big events the big socres ... like the one that just happened.
Giancarlo Stanton has gone deep into the Marlins' bullpen for a two-run shot. Cardinals leave two runners on base. Stanton leaves none.
Marlins lead, 2-0.
It's Stanton's 30th homer. It's the second time in three days the Cardinals have allowed the 30th homer to a slugger. Nelson Cruz crushed his 30th homer of the season Saturday at Camden.
Check back throughout the game for more.
I'll stop bringing up Saturday.