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St. Louis at Florida

St. Louis
W: J. Hancock (1-0) L: S. Olsen (1-2)
HR: STL - None   FLA - None

Cardinals sweep Marlins in Miami for first time in eight years

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

MIAMI -- Stinging from four consecutive losses to division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals were seeking a turnaround when they arrived Friday in Miami.

They came to the right place.

The Cardinals feasted all weekend on lapses by the woeful Florida Marlins, winning 9-1 Sunday to complete their first series sweep in Miami in eight years.

"We took advantage of every little opportunity and every mistake," said Albert Pujols, who had a two-run single, giving him 38 RBI.

St. Louis overcame the departure of right-hander Sidney Ponson, who complained of elbow discomfort and was pulled for a pinch hitter after three innings. He'll be examined by a doctor Monday in St. Louis and will likely miss at least one turn in the rotation.

"It was bothering me a little bit," Ponson said. "To prevent me from going out there and hurting myself and maybe being out for the season, they took me out."

The Cardinals built a 7-0 lead for the third game in a row, and they batted around for the third consecutive game, this time in a five-run fourth inning.

"That doesn't surprise me, knowing our team," Pujols said. "I know every guy can do some damage."

So Taguchi had two hits and two RBI, and Scott Spiezio doubled twice and drove in a run. Four Cardinals scored after being walked or hit by a pitch.

The Marlins, who have the youngest team and lowest payroll in the majors, were swept for the third consecutive home series. They've lost 10 consecutive home games, one shy of the club record set in 1999.

St. Louis outscored Florida 23-9 in the series.

"We're young," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "We almost have to be perfect to win games. When you're not, this is what happens."

The Cardinals improved to 9-1 against the NL East. After starting the trip by losing two each at Cincinnati and Houston, they headed home buoyed by their first sweep at Miami since Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 1998.

"We got some timely hitting and a lot of clutch at-bats," manager Tony La Russa said. "That's a good way to win."

"Hopefully this will start us on another roll," Spiezio said.

Josh Hancock (1-0), who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, was one of four St. Louis relievers to complete the six-hitter.

Scott Olsen (1-2) allowed six hits, four walks and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. Only one Florida starter in the past six games has gotten through five innings.

"Today was probably the best I've felt all year," Olsen said. "I don't think I beat myself. I think they beat me. That's a little more comforting."

The Marlins' lone run scored when Miguel Cabrera hit into a double play with runners at first and third in the sixth.

The Cardinals' big fourth inning started modestly: Following a leadoff groundout, Yadier Molina was hit by a pitch that grazed the front of his jersey. Aaron Miles walked, and John Gall -- pinch hitting for Ponson -- singled for his first RBI of the season.

David Eckstein walked, and with two out Pujols hit a liner that deflected off the glove of a leaping Hanley Ramirez at shortstop for a single. After Ricky Nolasco replaced Olsen, Juan Encarnacion singled home a run and Spiezio doubled to make it 7-0.

The Cardinals drove in two runs with infield singles in the second inning. Encarnacion singled, took third on Spiezio's double and came home when Taguchi hit a grounder in a hole between third and short for a hit. Another run scored when third baseman Cabrera failed to field a 50-foot dribbler by Ponson, who earned his first RBI in 56 career at-bats.


Pujols went 1-for-5 and finished the week 5-for-24, dropping his average to .314. ... The Marlins will visit the new Busch Stadium for the first time Aug. 29-31. ... Cardinals RHP Jason Marquis, scheduled to start Monday against Colorado, has allowed seven runs in the first inning of his past two starts. He has dropped his past three decisions after starting the season 3-0.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

H. Ramirez
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0
St. Louis

S. Taguchi
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0

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St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4100102 .291
Hector Luna, LF4110113 .328
Albert Pujols, 1B5112012 .314
Juan Encarnacion, RF5121012 .227
Scott Spiezio, 3B4121111 .278
So Taguchi, CF5122002 .269
Yadier Molina, C3111002 .170
Aaron Miles, 2B3100213 .279
Sidney Ponson, P1011000 .333
   a- John Gall, PH1111000 .250
    Brian Falkenborg, P1000011 .000
    Josh Hancock, P0000000 .000
    Brad Thompson, P1000010 .000
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
a-singled for Ponson in the 4th
2B - Hector Luna (4, Borowski), Scott Spiezio 2 (5, Olsen, Nolasco)
RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (38), Juan Encarnacion (12), Scott Spiezio (12), So Taguchi 2 (11), Yadier Molina (9), Sidney Ponson (1), John Gall (1)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (14), Juan Encarnacion (6), Scott Spiezio (10), So Taguchi (4), Yadier Molina (6)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Miles-Eckstein-Pujols
E - Hector Luna (1, Dropped fly)
St. Louis Cardinals
Sidney Ponson 3100220 2.81
Brian Falkenborg 2211000 4.91
Josh Hancock (W,1-0) 1.1100120 2.41
Brad Thompson 1.1100120 0.64
Randy Flores 1.1100020 1.86
Pitches-Strikes - Sidney Ponson 42-26, Brian Falkenborg 33-23, Josh Hancock 31-17, Brad Thompson 27-16, Randy Flores 18-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sidney Ponson 2-4, Brian Falkenborg 3-4, Josh Hancock 1-0, Brad Thompson 2-0, Randy Flores 1-1
Batters Faced - Sidney Ponson 11, Brian Falkenborg 9, Josh Hancock 5, Brad Thompson 6, Randy Flores 5
Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS4110003 .305
Dan Uggla, 2B4020000 .278
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4010001 .337
Josh Willingham, LF4000032 .298
Joe Borchard, RF3000111 .292
    Joe Borowski, P0000000 .000
Mike Jacobs, 1B2000210 .176
Reggie Abercrombie, CF4010011 .200
Matt Treanor, C2000012 .200
   a- Wes Helms, PH0000100 .263
    Todd Wellemeyer, P0000000 .000
    Chris Aguila, RF1010000 .250
Scott Olsen, P1000000 .000
    Ricky Nolasco, P1000001 .000
    Randy Messenger, P0000000 .000
   b- Miguel Olivo, PH-C2000014 .225
a-walked for Treanor in the 7th
b-struck out for Messenger in the 7th
2B - Hanley Ramirez (9, Falkenborg), Reggie Abercrombie (4, Hancock)
CS - Joe Borchard (2, 2nd base by Ponson/Molina)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Olsen-Treanor-Cabrera
Florida Marlins
Scott Olsen (L,1-2) 3.2677430 5.32
Ricky Nolasco 2.1200020 5.27
Randy Messenger 1000000 0.90
Todd Wellemeyer 1000020 3.21
Joe Borowski 1322100 4.91
HBP - Molina (by Scott Olsen), Molina (by Ricky Nolasco)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Olsen 77-45, Ricky Nolasco 40-26, Randy Messenger 8-6, Todd Wellemeyer 14-9, Joe Borowski 24-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Olsen 5-2, Ricky Nolasco 1-4, Randy Messenger 1-2
Batters Faced - Scott Olsen 21, Ricky Nolasco 10, Randy Messenger 3, Todd Wellemeyer 3, Joe Borowski 7
Game Information
Attendance - 13057
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Jeff Nelson, Third Base - Mike Estabrook