Sunday's game against the Marlins was the first skirmish in the battle for the fifth spot in the St. Louis rotation.
The primary combatants -- reliever Kyle McClellan and former Cubs and Orioles starter Rich Hill -- both pitched for the Cardinals in a 7-4 win over Florida. Both pitched well, but neither factored in the decision.
McClellan started and pitched three scoreless frames, allowing one hit and no walks while whiffing four. Hill relieved McClellan and threw two innings allowing a run on two hits with a strikeout and no walks. Marlins right fielder Brett Carroll homered off Hill for the only run he allowed.
Josh Kinney and Dennys Reyes each had a strong inning of work with a pair of strikeouts apiece. Blake Hawksworth got a hold but was roughed up in the eighth, allowing five hits and three earned runs in 1 1/3 innings of work.
At the plate Joe Mather, who is trying to make the team as a reserve outfielder and corner infielder, was 2-for-3 with four RBI. Yadier Molina was 2-for-2 with a run and an RBI.
The win was the first for the Cardinals since October when they ended the regular season with a whimper and then were swept out of the playoffs by the Dodgers. They stand at 1-3 for the spring.