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Birds bullpenners Jason Motte and Ryan Franklin struggle

Cardinals starting pitcher candidates have been exceptional early in the spring. But the same can't be said of the bullpenners.

Ryan Franklin struggled Sunday with his control. But Jason Motte was torched by Marlins batsmen in a lopsided 7-2 loss to Florida that was shortened by rain.

Pitching early in the game instead of in his usual ninth inning role, Franklin walked two and gave up two hits and a run in two frames of action at Roger Dean Stadium against Florida. His set-up man, Motte was slammed for five hits and five earned runs in an inning of work to raise his spring ERA to 15.00

Minor leaguer Kevin Thomas started the game for St. Louis and gave up one run over two innings. allowing three hits and two walks.

Gerald Laird had two hits while Mark Hamilton hit a towering homer to account for the Cardinals offense. Lance Berkman was 1-for-3 while Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday were each 0-for-2.