ST. LOUIS (AP) — The last three innings, Jacob Turner allowed only one base runner. The Miami Marlins right-hander was happy with his homecoming start even though his first three innings did not go so well.
“It was fun, obviously, no matter what happened,” Turner said after a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night. “Obviously, I wished I would have pitched a little better, a little deeper.”
Turner (2-1) said facing a patient Cardinals lineup was a much bigger factor than any nerves playing against the team he used to follow.
“Once the first inning gets past you, it’s just another game,” Turner said. “Obviously, I think they’re the best-hitting team in the league and they showed it.
“I threw a lot of good pitches, but I made too many mistakes with two strikes and they capitalized on all those mistakes.”
Jake Westbrook worked seven strong innings and Allen Craig had two RBIs for St. Louis, which had lost eight of 11 and plummeted from the majors’ best record to second place in the NL Central entering a five-game homestand. Matt Holliday doubled twice with an RBI and Edward Mujica rebounded with the save.
The Marlins totaled three hits and lost for just the third time in 11 games.
“A lot of ground balls,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “It seemed like every situation we would beat balls into the ground. We had a couple opportunities, but not much.”
The hard-throwing Turner, a former first-round pick from suburban St. Charles, Mo., also is a confidant of Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. The 22-year-old right-hander entered with a 1.76 ERA his first six starts of the year and threw his first career complete game his last time out.
Westbrook (5-3) was hurt only by Logan Morrison’s 440-foot homer to straightaway center leading off the second that ended the right-hander’s streak of 23 innings without allowing an earned run at home to start the season. The sinkerballer got all three outs on ground balls five times and benefited from two double plays, one of them a bit unusual, and is 3-1 in his last four starts.
Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the eighth and Mujica worked a perfect ninth with a pair of strikeouts for his 22nd save in 23 chances. He blew his first save opportunity of the year Thursday night in a loss to the Angels.
With runners on first and second and none out in the fifth, Turner was called out by home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth after his sacrifice bunt attempt bounced off the plate and right to catcher Yadier Molina for a quick tagout. Molina pumped once before throwing to third and Adeiny Hechavarria was ruled out without a tag, and was in the dugout before the Marlins could react.
“No. 1, we didn’t get the bunt down, which was probably the biggest part of it,” Redmond said. “I thought the ball was clearly foul, he called it fair.
“I think everyone on defense thought the ball was foul, and after that I don’t really know what happened.”
Holliday and Craig doubled with two outs in the first to nearly identical drives to right-center to put the Cardinals in front. They got RBI doubles from Holliday and Matt Adams plus a sacrifice fly from Craig in the third to make it 4-1.
Craig is near the top of the National League with 68 RBIs and entered with a league-leading .469 average with runners in scoring position.
A standing room crowd of 46,177 attracted by a Mike Shannon bobblehead giveaway gave the longtime Cardinals announcer a lengthy ovation before the seventh.
Notes: Joe Kelly (0-3, 3.86) makes a long-delayed first appearance as the Cardinals’ fifth starter since getting elevated to the rotation on June 22 on Saturday. Four starters had been enough because the Cardinals had three days off. Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 2.00) makes his fourth start of the year for the Marlins. … Morrison has three homers his last five games against the Cardinals.