In the hottest weather in which the Marlins ever played a game, the Cardinals on Saturday were best able to survive the heat.
They beat Miami 3-2 in wilting 106-degree temperatures at Busch Stadium and gave themselves a chance to win the series Sunday and hit the All-Star break on a high note.
Kyle Lohse pitched seven strong innings and allowed only three hits. Unfortunately, one of them was a second inning home run that put St. Louis behind 2-0. Lohse steadied however, and the Cardinals were able to wear down his counterpart Carlos Zambrano who could only make it through five innings.
In the bottom of the fourth, Allen Craig singled to lead off the inning and was moved to second base when David Freese walked. Skip Schumaker hit an opposite field single to left to drive in one run. Then back-up catcher Tony Cruz inside-outed a ball down the right field line that Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano appeared to be in position to cut off against the side wall. Somehow, however, the ball got through and rolled all the way into the right field corner on a play that was eventually ruled a triple. The Redbirds took a 3-2 lead on the play that they would never surrender.
Of course it wouldn't be easy.
In the ninth inning Jason Motte quickly got the first two outs. But the Marlins notched back-to-back line drive singles to put the tying run on second and the potential go-ahead run on first. He filled the count. But Motte was able to get Donovan Solano to pop up to catcher in foul territory to end the game.
The Cardinals continued to struggle to push runs across the plate early in the game. They had two runners cut down at the plate early and, really, the whole game came down to Cruz's one hit or they would have suffered another frustrating loss.
In the third inning, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton left with a sore knee. It was revealed later in the day that he needs knee surgery on Sunday and he'll miss the All-Star Game.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Lohse improved to 9-2 with the victory.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Cruz's triple
Lowlight: Carlos Beltran continues to struggle. He was hitless in four at-bats on the day and struck out twice.