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Marlins @ Cardinals 8.16 recap - Cards unable to secure sweep

Heyward's homers not enough to overcome Wong's wobbles.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Marlins @ St. Louis Cardinals

David Phelps (4-8, 4.35 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 1.340 WHIP) vs. Carlos Martinez (12-4, 2.62 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.274 WHIP)
1:15 p.m. CT 
Busch Stadium - St. Louis, Missouri

Today's Lineups -

Some News -

Things we were looking for -

Cards go for the sweep today vs. the fish.  The Pirates and the Cubs have been hot, but luckily so have the Cards.  Pete Kozma gets the start at short to give Jhonny Peralta a rest.

Things that happened -

Top halves -

Dee Gordon got things started with a leadoff single up the middle.  He stole a base and then further utilized his speed, scoring on a Justin Bour line drive single up the middle.  Marlins lead 1-0.

Jeff Mathis reached second in the second with a single and a Martinez balk, but that brought up the pitcher with two down.  He struck out to end the inning.

Dee Gordon is fast.  He led off the third with a bunt single because he's fast.  There was a close play on a pick-off at first.  Gordon was called out, and replays showed the play so close that I'm not sure an original call either way could be overturned.  The Marlins apparently agreed, and elected not to use a challenge on the close play.

Carlos Martinez used 7 pitches to mow through the middle third of the Marlin order in the fourth.

An Adeiny Hechavarria single and a Kolten Wong error on a tailor-made double play ball put runners on the corners with nobody out in the fifth.  Narveson laid down a good bunt, and Carlos made a good play to seemingly catch Hechavarria at the plate.  A replay ensued.  The folks in New York overturned the out call, so the run scored.  Gordon followed quickly with a single up the middle to load the bases with no outs.  Carlos came back and struck out Miguel Rojas, but then Derek Dietrich took a breaking ball that caught too much of the plate down the right field line for a bases-clearing triple.  That put the Marlins back on top 5-3.

That was it for Carlos.  His final line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (5 4 1 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 74 pitches.

Carlos Villanueva took over the pitching duties.  Hechavarria tripled.  Mathis walked.  Casey McGehee worked a full count, and when the Marlins started the runner at first, Casey hit a grounder to Wong that was mishandled, resulting in another run, and no outs on the play.  The Cards got out of the inning on a fly ball out in which both runners tried to advance, but they caught McGehee at second to end the inning.  It was a nice play.  But the Marlins extend their lead to 6-4.

Villanueva got one out in the seventh, and then gave way to Randy Choate.  Choate deflected a ball that helped Dietrich reach first.  On a pick off, Dietrich reached second when Reynolds threw wide to second.  Matheny challenged the safe call.  The challenge worked, and the call was overturned.  It was really close.  Choate got out of the inning unscathed.

Seth Maness for the eighth.  We also got to see a fun defensive alignment in the outfield- Heyward to center, Moss to left, and Piscotty to right.  Grichuk's absence was mysterious, especially since the double switch was not in order, Moss already having straight pinch hit for the pitcher.  Cole Gillespie floated a single over Wong's head, but that was the only damage.  Carpenter almost turned two as he caught a zinger of a liner at third and threw over to try to double up Gillespie.  Maness took care of the next batter anyways.

Jonathan Broxton pitched a nice clean ninth for the Birds.

Bottom halves -

After strikeouts of Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty, Jason Heyward took it upon himself to tie up the game.  He belted a homer that just carried to the right-center seats.  Game tied 1-1.

Hot-hittin' Pete Kozma rocketed a line drive for a single with two outs in the second.  Carlos left him on base, striking out to end the inning.

The Cards struck again in the third.  Carpenter singled.  Piscotty grounded into what should have been a double play, but an errant throw on the turn allowed him first base.  Heyward took advantage, smashing his second homer of the game into the Cardinals bullpen to put up two more on the board.  With little explanation, David Phelps' last pitch (presumably due to an un-obvious injury) was a ball to Randal Grichuk.  Phelps was removed in favor of Chris Narveson, who was able to end the inning.  Cards up 3-1.

Phelps' final line: 2 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 47 pitches thrown.

Narveson came back out for the fourth.  He made quick work of the 6-7-8 batters in the Cardinal order.

Stephen Piscotty hit his first major league homer in the fifth, a solo job to center field with two outs.  Heyward also blasted a hard-hit liner that Ozuna tracked down to end the inning.  Marlins lead 5-4.

Brian Ellington pitched in the sixth.  The Cards couldn't do anything against him.

Ellington also got two quick outs in the seventh.  Dan Jennings brought in Mike Dunn to face pinch hitter Brandon Moss, who took a walk.  Carp singled up the middle to put runners on the corners for Piscotty, who struck out to end the rally and the inning.

Dunn came back to pitch to Heyward in the eighth.  An 8-pitch AB, Heyward ended up grounding out.  Bryan Morris came in to face Jhonny Peralta, who grounded out.  Yadier Molina flew out to end the frame.

A.J. Ramos came in to try to save it for the Marlins.  He struck out Wong.  He struck out Reynolds, bringing up Pete Kozma as the last hope.  Yep.  Marlins win 6-4.

Final Notes -

  • Heyward last appeared in centerfield on September 29, 2013.

  • The twitter-sphere speculated that Grichuk's strange exit had something to do with a lingering foot injury.  UPDATE:

  • Wong's errors were tough ones to overcome.

  • Martinez' pitching line changed after he left the game- in the end, he was charged with 1 earned run.

  • The challenged plays in this game were extremely close and weren't definitive either way in my mind.

  • Phelps left the game with "right elbow discomfort".

  • Congratulations to Stephen Piscotty for his first career home run!  Also congratulations to the little girl who probably was able to barter the ball for some more valuable trinkets.  UPDATE:
  • Fangraphs
  • Gamenotes: MarlinsCardinals

Looking ahead -

Tune in Monday for a 7:09 CT start- the defending champs come to town chasing a playoff spot.  Chris Heston and the Giants will be opposed by Michael Wacha.