MIAMI • Miles Mikolas, who grew up 90 minutes to the north in Jupiter, Fla., had beaten the Miami Marlins twice in his first two starts against them for the Cardinals last year, holding them to two earned runs in 14 innings. But this one was different and the 20 or so family members and friends who made the trek down I-95 Wednesday night, had to turn their heads in the second inning.
After Miami’s Garrett Cooper had tripled out of the reach of diving right fielder Dexter Fowler and ultimately scored the Marlins’ first run in the first inning, Cooper came to bat again with the bases loaded and two out in the second.
One 94 mph two-seam fastball later, it was 5-0, Miami, after Cooper’s monstrous, 429-foot grand slam to left center.
The Marlins coasted from there to a 9-0 victory, giving them one game in the three-set. Hawaii native Jordan Yamamoto, a call-up from Class AA when scheduled starter Jose Urena hurt his back, blanked the Cardinals three hits for seven innings in his major league debut although the Cardinals hit several more balls hard off the righthander.
Before the grand slam, Cooper’s second of his career, Mikolas had walked .181-hitting Curtis Granderson to load the bases.
The home run was the 14th given up by Mikolas this season compared to 16 all last season when he was 18-4. He is 4-7 this year.
The Cardinals had missed a chance to turn a double play earlier in the second when second baseman Kolten Wong threw wide of first trying to get Bryan Holaday, who had grounded into a forceout.
The Cardinals didn’t have a hit through three innings but that changed quickly in the fourth when Paul DeJong got his first double since May 19 and 18th of the season when he skimmed a drive past first base. DeJong stopped at third on Paul Goldschmidt’s lined single to right. And that is where he stayed
Marcell Ozuna, the club leader in runs batted in at 55, flied to short left and Yadier Molina grounded hard into a double play.
HELSLEY HURT, MARLINS SQUEEZE
Mikolas left after five innings and 78 pitches but reliever Ryan Helsley didn’t make it through one. He gave up a leadoff double to Miguel Rojas, committed a balk and then left the game with a shoulder impingement in the Marlins’ sixth, replaced by lefthander Tyler Webb.
With Yamamoto at the plate, Marlins manager Don Mattingly called for a suicide squeeze and the pitcher cooperated by dropping a bunt in front of the plate as Rojas scored the sixth run.
TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
Sixteen-season veteran Granderson then applied the finishing touch with a three-run homer off John Brebbia with two out in the eighth inning. That gave Cooper a chance to become the first Marlin ever to hit for the cycle but he struck out for the second time in succession.
PONCE de LEON TO START FRIDAY
Daniel Ponce de Leon, who made one start of five innings, striking out seven and allowing just two hits and one run to Milwaukee on April 23, will get another chance on Friday in New York when he will take Adam Wainwright’s start against the Mets.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, in making the announcement, said that Wainwright, who suffered a left hamstring strain running out a double on Sunday in Chicago, might miss only that start. The next turn would come next Wednesday, though, and Wainwright wouldn’t be able to come off the injured list until the next day.
Ponce de Leon, recalled last weekend, is 4-4 with a 3.90 earned run average at Memphis.
LOCAL PRODUCT MIKOLAS FACES MARLINS
Miles Mikolas, a Jupiter, Fla., product, will start Wednesday night for the Cardinals against the Miami Marlins, which might put a few more people in the seats if his friend and family drive the 90 miles to get here. The paid crowds for the first two games of the series both were under 6,600.
But, asked if he thought he could at least boost the attendance to 7,000, Mikolas joked, “I don’t know that many people.” The turnout turned out to be 7,001.
Mikolas posted wins in both his starts against his home-state team last year, winning 4-1 in St. Louis and 3-2 here, lasting seven innings each time. The righthander is 3-1 with a 1.93 earned run average against National League Eastern Division opponents this year and 1-5 with a 6.15 ERA against all others.
Mikolas has beaten Washington, New York and Philadelphia and lost to Atlanta. After this start, he is slated to face the Marlins again next Monday in St. Louis.
When last he pitched in Chicago, Mikolas was hit in the right forerarm by a liner from the Cubs’ David Bote and left the game. But Shildt said there were “no complications. He’s ready to go.”
With scheduled starter Jose Urena out with a lower back strain, the Marlins called up from Class AA Jacksonville righthander Jordan Yamamato, to take Wednesday’s start. Yamamato, acquired in the Christian Yelich trade with Milwaukee last year, was 3-5 with a 3.58 earned run average at Jacksonville.
CARDS SIGN NOS. 2-3 PICKS
Among six recent draftees signed by the Cardinals Wednesday were second-round pick Trejyn Fletcher, a high school outfielder from Maine and third-round selection Tony Locey, a righthanded pitcher from Georgia.
The Cardinals no doubt had to go over the assigned “slot” figure of $1.21 million for the No. 58 overall choice to sign Fletcher, who had made an oral commitment to play at Vanderbilt.
The righthanded-hitting Fletcher hit .456 with three homers and 17 steals in 16 high school games this year.
Catcher Pedro Pages, from nearly Florida Atlantic University, signed as the No. 6 selection.
CARDS PLAY WELL IN FRONT OF OQUENDO
The Cardinals played two of their better games in the first two games of the series, with longtime coach and current instructor Jose Oquendo down from Jupiter to observe. F.
“Jose’s always welcome here,” said Shildt. “He’s a valuable resource for us and it was good to get him down here from the complex.”
Kolten Wong’s start at second base Wednesday tied him with Oquendo for seventh on the Cardinals’ list for games played at the position at 649.
“He’s the guy who basically made me the second baseman I am today,” Wong said. “I’ve learned how to play second base from him.”
1. Matt Carpenter 3b
2. Paul DeJong ss
3. Paul Goldschmidt 1b
4. Marcell Ozuna lf
5. Yadier Molina c
6. Kolten Wong 2b
7. Dexter Fowler rf
8. Harrison Bader cf
9. Miles Mikolas p
1. Curtis Granderson lf
2. Garrett Cooper 1b
3. Brian Anderson rf
4. Starlin Castro 2b
5. Harold Ramirez cf
6. Martin Prado 3b
7. Miguel Rojas ss
8. Bryan Holaday c
9. Jordan Yamamato p