AP Sports Writer

MIAMI (AP) — It’s the sort of boxscore that had to look great to the Miami Marlins.

Consider: Marlins starter Mat Latos pitched seven innings, giving up three hits and allowing only five baserunners. And Giancarlo Stanton hit his ML-leading 27th home run, part of what became a three-hit game.

Alas, it was all a Marlin mirage. In the end, the only line from the boxscore that mattered was St. Louis 6, Miami 1.

“When teams get in a funk like we’re in right now, players try to do a little too much,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. “And when you try to do too much and you get away from what you work on during the day, it can come back and bite you.”

Each of those baserunners who reached against Latos scored, and two of the three hits he allowed were homers. Stanton’s 3-for-4 night was equally deceptive, since his at-bats all led off innings — something that the Marlins simply don’t want to have happen.

“At the end of the day we’re still getting seven to 10 hits,” Stanton said. “It’s a matter of how important they are.”

Jason Heyward homered for the third consecutive game and Kolten Wong added a two-run shot for the Cardinals, who improved baseball’s best record to 47-24.

Heyward hit a three-run homer, his ninth of the season, in the seventh to blow the game open. The Cardinals had just one hit in the first six innings against Latos (2-5), that hit being Wong’s ninth home run in the third.

Garcia (3-3) allowed one run — the Stanton homer — in seven innings for the Cardinals, lowering his ERA to 1.69.

Garcia singled and eventually scored in the eighth, but grimaced and began to limp shortly before crossing the plate. He came out of the game, but afterward Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said it was merely because of a cramp and didn’t believe there was reason for concern.

“He was terrific,” Matheny said. “Gave up a couple hard-hit balls, one to Stanton, but he really limited the damage.”

Jhonny Peralta led off the St. Louis seventh with a single and Mark Reynolds then took a four-pitch walk. Two pitches later, Latos left a fastball up and Heyward sent it over the wall in right for a 5-1 lead.

“The minute I make a mistake, boom, it gets hit,” Latos said. “That’s what they’re supposed to do. Sometimes you get away with stuff like that, but it just seems to be a theme of my season.”

Stanton gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead in the second, hitting his first first-pitch home run of the year — a line-drive shot to center.


Cardinals: 3B Matt Carpenter returned to the lineup after sitting out Tuesday with back stiffness. … RHP Carlos Martinez had no problems with his pitching shoulder, a good sign after getting plunked with a fastball while batting Tuesday. “It looked bad at the time,” Matheny said.

Marlins: RHP Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder inflammation) is long-tossing from 120 feet and is scheduled to throw off a mound Saturday, the same day as the final tuneup for ace RHP Jose Fernandez (right elbow reconstruction) before his return to the Marlins rotation next week. … The Marlins plan to activate right-hander Jarred Cosart (vertigo) off the disabled list Thursday and send him to the bullpen. He’s never relieved in the majors.


Some of the NHL’s top draft prospects — this year’s draft starts Friday in nearby Sunrise, Florida, home of the NHL’s Panthers — were at Marlins Park on Wednesday. Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, who will almost certainly be picked No. 1 and No. 2 overall, threw out some of the ceremonial pregame pitches. And forward Lawson Crouse, possibly a top-five selection, homered in batting practice. “I know he can hit the crap out of a hockey puck,” Marlins third base coach Lenny Harris said.


The Cardinals lost the games in which Wong hit his first two big-league home runs. They’re 18-3 when he homers since.


RHP Lance Lynn (4-4, 3.07) goes for the Cardinals in the series finale on Thursday against Miami RHP Dan Haren (6-4, 3.19). Lynn is 3-0 all-time against the Marlins, and Haren hasn’t gotten a single run of support in either of his last two outings.

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