A few of the faces may have changed over the off-season. But facing unfamiliar pitchers continues to be a persistent problem for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Miami Marlins starter Jose Fernandez, a 21-year-old held St. Louis to five hits over six innings. He allowed three runs, all in the one inning in which the Redbirds bunched the bulk of their offense.
The scoring the Cardinals were able to manage came from the new guys. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta had two hits, a single and a double. Peter Bourjos tripled to plate two runs and then scored on a ground ball that could have been an inning ending double play. Instead the ball took a bad hop and hit Miami second baseman Derek Dietrich right in the nose. Dietrich was able to walk off under his own power, but he left the game through the right field wagon gate.
St. Louis hurler Lance Lynn started off well with one run allowed over the first three innings of the game. But in the fourth he seemed to have trouble dealing with a shrinking strike zone and his pitch count -- as well as the number of hits and walks he allowed -- began to rise.
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The Marlins scored two runs to take a 3-0 lead at the time. But Lynn could only make it through four innings, not quite as far as one would like to see a starter go with a week and a half left of Grapefruit League play. He threw 80 pitches and only 45 of them were strikes.
The deciding run in the 4-3 loss was surrendered by Scott McGregor and it was a towering blast to left field.
Miami was the home team in the game between Roger Dean Stadium's two tenants. But about 90 percent of the crowd cheered for the Cardinals. When Miami players were introduced at the beginning of the game, only Giancarlo Stanton received any substantial cheers. The other Marlins players were met mostly with indifference while the Cardinals players were loudly cheered.