ST. LOUIS — Trevor Rosenthal was on the ropes in the series opener. So instead of opening the ninth, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny asked his closer to get just two outs.
The hard-throwing Rosenthal had the Miami Marlins down to their last strike again before faltering in a 6-5 loss on Saturday. The Cardinals had been 45-1 when leading after eight innings.
"When a closer has a rough go they can’t wait to get back out there, and if their arm feels good they really want to get it right," Matheny said. "He came out there throwing some strikes, but it’s the counts.
"You just have to keep fighting through it."
Casey McGehee fouled off five full-count pitches against Rosenthal (0-4) before getting the tying hit. Donovan Solano ran from first and just beat a relay throw to the plate that catcher Yadier Molina couldn’t handle. On Friday night, McGehee grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded against Rosenthal.
MeGehee took second on the throw home, and pinch hitter Jeff Baker followed with the go-ahead RBI single off Sam Freeman.
Left-hander Randy Choate retired Marlins leadoff man Christian Yelich, a left-handed hitter, on a lineout to open the ninth.
Rosenthal gave up a single to Solano, then struck out Giancarlo Stanton before surrendering the tying hit. He has four blown saves in 30 chances.
"It was a tough at-bat against a good hitter, and he won the battle," Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal gave up two runs in the ninth on Friday night before closing out a 3-2 victory. He said Saturday he had felt fine, but threw too many pitches.
"With a guy on first and two outs, I think I can get the job done," he said. "You always feel bad letting the team down, but it’s part of the game.
"No one’s perfect."
Matt Holliday, who had an RBI single in the Cardinals’ four-run fourth, was taken out after the eighth because of a bruised left knee. The team said he was day to day.
Yelich’s three-run homer off Seth Maness in the sixth began Miami’s comeback from a four-run deficit that snapped the Cardinals’ three-game winning streak.
Mike Dunn (6-4) worked a scoreless eighth, and Steve Cishek finished for his 19th save in 21 chances.
Allen Craig and Jhonny Peralta homered on consecutive at-bats against Andrew Heaney in a four-run fourth inning that put the Cardinals up 5-1.
The Cardinals, who entered with 49 homers — tied with the cross-state Royals for fewest in the majors — hit back-to-back homers for the first time this season.
Craig’s two-run shot was his first since May 29 and it came after two days on the bench. Two pitches later, Peralta hit his team-leading 13th homer just inside the foul pole in left.
Shelby Miller needed 107 pitches to work 5 1/3 innings and was charged with three runs on nine hits. Miller saved a run that kept it tied at 1 in the fourth, bare-handing Heaney’s two-out safety squeeze bunt and diving as he flipped the ball to the plate in time to nail Marcell Ozuna.
The Marlins appealed. hoping that Ozuna was safe or that there had been obstruction at the plate, but were denied.
Heaney gave up five runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings, the worst of his four career starts. He faced 23 hitters and 12 reached safely.
The Marlins nicked Miller for a run on three singles in the first. McGehee got the RBI and extended his hitting streak to 12 games, a career best. The Cardinals tied it in the bottom half on a hit batter, walk and Molina’s single.
NOTES: Left-hander Marco Gonzalez (0-1, 9.64) will make his third career start for the Cardinals in the series finale Sunday, opposing Henderson Alvarez (5-2, 2.33). … Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek has worked 12 consecutive scoreless outings, covering 9 2/3 innings. … Miller is 7-3 against the NL East and 14-7 at home. … The attendance of 45,445 was St. Louis’ 25th sellout in 42 games. … McGehee has a 19-game hitting streak on the road.