The Cardinals cleaned up their act – for the most part – after two sloppy losses and avoided a sweep by the Miami Marlins with a 4-1 win on Thursday afternoon.
Miles Mikolas did most of the heavy lifting, improving to 7-1 with seven effective innings in which the Marlins scored only once, thanks to Dexter Fowler's drop of a fly ball. That error ended a run of 13 consecutive batters retired by Mikolas, who gave up just three hits and struck out five in seven innings.
The Cardinals scored twice in the first on a home run by Jose Martinez, his sixth of the season. They scored again in the sixth on consecutive singles by Tommy Pham, Martinez and Marcell Ozuna and then again in the seventh on a pinch home run by Luke Voit, who has two hits in three at-bats this season.
The only thing that didn't go right was Fowler's error. He had a decent-sized run to get to Starlin Castro's fly ball into the right field corner, but he got there and had the ball bounce off his glove. Castro scored two hitters later on a double by Justin Bour.
The Cardinals had lost the first two games to the Marlins by scores of 7-4 and 11-3. This time, Mikolas got them deep into the game before handing it over to Jordan Hicks and Bud Norris.
Martinez is in another of his streaks. Over the previous four games, he had sevevn hits in 15 at-bats and was hitting .467. With two hits on Thursday, he had his sixth multi-hit/multi-RBI game of the season.
MUNOZ STAYS AT SHORT AFTER THREE-ERROR GAME
Yairo Munoz made three errors on Wednesday night, the first Cardinal shortstop to do that since Aledmys Diaz in 2016, but he's back in the lineup on Thursday as the Cardinals think offense for the final game of their series with the Marlins.
Prior to the game, the Cardinals activated infielder Greg Garcia from paternity leave and designated pitcher Preston Guilmet and his 22.50 ERA for assignment.
Munoz is hitting .286, the second-highest batting average on the team after Jose Martinez, whose fielding at first didn't help Munoz on one of the errors. Munoz got his 11th RBI in his past 10 games with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning on Wednesday.
"He can make those throws," manager Mike Matheny said. "He didn't. He's probably not going to make an excuse for them either. It's something he'll get on top of. I think he'll keep making plays."
But more than that, it's his offense that kept him in the lineup on Thursday.
"He's swinging it too," Matheny said. "He had a big at-bat where he fouled off some pitches and was able to get a sacrifice fly. Right now, we've needed somebody to step up and he's stepped up. We'll keep giving him a shot."
Diaz made his three errors on May 13, 2016 against the Dodgers.
Yadier Molina is out of the lineup for standard day-game-after-night-game reasons.
The Cardinals are in the process of designing a commemorative patch for Red Schoendienst to put on their uniforms, but they don't have it yet. On Thursday, the day after the Hall of Famer died at 95, the grounds crew put a number 2 in light dirt behind second base.
A tribute aired on the Jumobtron before the game and there was a moment of silence, with both the Cardinals and Marlins standing on the field.
1. Matt Carpenter 3b
2. Tommy Pham cf
3. Jose Martinez 1b
4. Marcell Ozuna lf
5. Dexter Fowler rf
6. Yairo Munoz ss
7. Kolten Wong 2b
8. Francisco Pena, c
9. Miles Mikolas, p
1. Starlin Castro, 2b
2. Derek Dietrich, lf
3. Justin Bour, 1b
4. Brian Anderson, rf
5. JT Riddle, ss
6. Lewis Brinson, cf
7. Yadiel Rivera, 3b
8. Bryan Holaday, c
9. Trevor Richards, p (the pride of Aviston)
Guilmet is out of options, so the Cardinals had to designate him for assignment. Guilmet allowed a home run in each of his two appearances with the Cardinals. He hadn't allowed more than two home runs in any of his previous three MLB single seasons.
"We're hopeful that the process goes through. He's a better pitcher than we saw the last two days," manager Mike Matheny said. "Hopefully we'll be able to get him back and get him pitching again, for us."
Guilmet had said he had too much adrenaline in his first game. Yesterday was a different matter.
"I saw better depth on the split," Matheny said. "He ended up getting some strikeouts, it's just bad things happened in between. I think guys get here, he's a guy that's been here before, they fall victim to trying to do it all, make up for yesterday's outing today and I think sometimes that adrenaline does carry over into the baseball elevating a little bit, because that's what it was."