After a rain delay postponed the game's first pitch over an hour, the St. Louis Cardinals completed a four-game sweep of the Florida Marlins today with an 8-4 victory. The offense lifted up starter Jaime Garcia, who labored through his 5 IP on 97 pitches in the wet playing conditions, as well as reliever Mitchell Boggs, who was forced to stand on the mound in the rain for ten minutes after the home plate umpire order the Marlins' ground crew to tend to the infield's mud before surrendering a game-tying two-run homer as the rain fell in the sixth. The Cardinal bats responded by doubling up the Marlins in the final three innings, making Boggs--who squandered Garcia's 4-2 lead--the "winning" pitcher in yet another example of how silly the stat is. Fernando Salas closed out the four-run win in a non-save situation, closing the book forever on the Florida-St. Louis rivalry. When next the teams face off on Opening Day 2012, the Marlins will have the name "Miami Marlins," in all its alliterative glory.
Over this long weekend series against the Feesh, the offensive engine fired on all three cylinders for what may be the first time all season. Bernie Miklasz tweeted the following after the game and series drew to a close:
Pujols, Holliday & Berkman in FLA sweep: 21 for 48 (.437), 14 runs, 5 HRs, 13 RBIs, 9 walks, 1 triple
It's a line that would have made Pujols, Edmonds, and Rolen blush. How welcome it would be if this trio, so close to being a new MV3 this season and yet so far, hit their stride at this pivotal moment in the playoff race. With their MV3-led sweep of the Marlins, the Cardinals have given us more to watch for as we seek out the results of our competition each day. At the close of play this Sunday, the Cardinals sit just 4.0 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the Wild Card race, tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The sweep also pulled the Cardinals a half-game closer to the Central's first-place club, the Brewers, who completed a sweep of their today of the lowly and gutted Houston Astros.
Tomorrow brings an off-day and on Tuesday the Brewers come to St. Louis for a three-game series that is as close to a "must-win" affair as a club can get in mid-August.