ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals salvaged a split in their four-game-series with the Florida Marlins at Busch Stadium on Thursday with a dramatic 6-3 win and a victory over Marlins’ ace Josh Johnson. St. Louis pushed across a first inning run off Johnson on a Matt Holliday single that scored Colby Rasmus. Florida drew even in the top of the fifth on an Omar Infante single that drove home Greg Dobbs. The very next at-bat, Johnson helped his cause with a RBI single to left to give Florida a 2-1 lead. St. Louis tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth on a Lance Berkman sacrifice fly that drove Marlins’ left fielder Emilio Bonifacio to the wall and brought Rasmus to the plate.
Florida regained the lead in the top of the seventh with another RBI single by Infante to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead. But things came apart for the Marlins in the bottom half of the eighth. Rasmus scored his and the Cardinals third run of the game on a jam-shot by Holliday that landed softly into right field. With the score tied at three and two runners on, Marlins’ skipper Edwin Rodriguez elected to pull Johnson and bring in left-hander Mike Dunn to turn switch-hitter Lance Berkman around to the right side of the plate. That decision quickly backfired as Berkman hammered the first pitch over the left field wall giving St. Louis a 6-3 lead. Eduardo Sanchez came in and closed the game for St. Louis while facing the minim and collected his third save of the year.
Johnson took his first loss of the season falling to 3-1 while giving up five runs in 7 1/3 innings. Jason Motte pitched a scoreless eighth and picked up the win for St. Louis. The final three games in the four game set were decided on home runs that came in the seventh inning or later. The Marlins return home to face the Washington Nationals on Friday night. They finish their seven-game-road-trip 4-3. St. Louis will have the Milwaukee Brewers in Busch Stadium on Friday.