By Steve Kolbe
The Miami Marlins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in Jupiter, Florida in the sixth and final meeting between the two team’s. The Marlins had lost three straight to the Redbirds by a combined margin of 12-3. Miami improved to 10-11, St. Louis is now 14-8 and in third place in the Grapefruit League behind Toronto(22-4) and Detroit(15-7). Last year, the Cardinals finished 11th in spring training with 14 wins and went on to win the World Series.
A crowd of 4,244 at Roger Dean Stadium watched as Anibal Sanchez made his third spring training start. He pitched five strong innings allowing two hits and only one run, while striking out four batters. Sanchez threw 71 pitches, 43 of them for strikes. After the game it was announced that Sanchez had earned himself a spot in the Marlins rotation as the fifth starter.
Carlos Beltran’s second home run of the spring gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the top of the fouth inning. It was the only run that Sanchez would allow. Beltran went 2-for-4 and is now batting .356 during spring training, third-best among all right fielders.
Miami tied the game in the home half of the fifth inning, when pinch hitter Daniel Pertusati homered to left field on a 3-2 pitch off Cardinals starter Lance Lynn. Pertusati is familiar with Roger Dean Stadium. Last season, he played in 119 games and hit six home runs right here with the Class-A Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads.
For the Marlins, catcher Brett Hayes went 2-for-4 with a run batted in. Shortstop Jose Reyes and right fielder Chris Coghlan were both 1-for-4 at the plate. Second baseman Donnie Murphy finished his day by going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a run scored.
Lance Berkman and David Freese each were 1-for-3 in the game for the Cardinals. Starting pitcher Lance Lynn went five innings and allowed five hits and one run in his fourth start of the spring. Last season, Lynn made just two starts for the Cardinals during the regular season. That changed in the fall, when he made 10 postseason appearances and set a Cardinals franchise rookie record with five appearances in the NLCS.
Chad Guadin pitched three scoreless innings for the Marlins to improve his record to 2-0. With two wins, Guadin is tied with Brad Hand, Josh Johnson, and Wade LeBlanc for the team lead. Donnie Webb pitched a perfect ninth to earn his first save.
Before the game, Miami reassigned infielder Nick Green and right-handed pitcher J.D. Martin to minor league camp. Outfielder Bryan Petersen was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, and outfielder Aaron Rowand was released. The Marlins began spring training with 64 players in camp. They now have 33 players remaining in camp: 18 pitchers(5 LHP, 13 RHP), seven infielders, three catchers, and five outfielders.
The Marlins will send right-hander Josh Johnson to the mound tomorrow to face Ross Detwiler and the Nationals. On Saturday, Miami wraps up the Grapefruit League schedule with lefty Mark Buehrle on the hill against Miguel Batista and the Mets. The Marlins will then play a pair of exhibition games against the New York Yankees at Marlins Park. Ricky Nolasco against CC Sabathia on Sunday, and Carlos Zambrano against Hiroki Kuroda on Monday.
The Inaugural Game at Marlins Park is Wednesday, April 4th with Miami facing the defending 2011 World Series Champions in South Florida to open the regular season. The Cardinals will attempt to become the first National League team since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds to win back-to-back World Series titles.