(AP) While the Miami Marlins own baseball’s worst record, they haven’t played like it over the last week.
Getting the best of the major league-leading St. Louis Cardinals again would boost their confidence even further.
The Marlins try for a fifth win in seven games as they host the Cardinals on Saturday.
Last in the majors in runs (199), on-base percentage (.286) and slugging percentage (.326), Miami (20-46) has picked up the pace during a 4-2 stretch. The Marlins have hit .324 and scored a combined 18 runs in their last three wins, including Friday’s 5-4 series-opening victory.
Giancarlo Stanton went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs while Juan Pierre, batting .381 during a season-high 10-game hitting streak, added two more hits and his team-leading 18th stolen base. After missing six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Stanton has hit safely in all four games since coming off the disabled list, going 6 for 16 with a homer and five RBIs.
Miami also got a big lift from rookie Jose Fernandez, who struck out a career-high 10 over seven sharp innings before Steve Cishek recorded his eighth save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
“He really was in complete control of that game,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said of Fernandez. “He set the tone against a great team, a great lineup, and it was fun to watch him.”
Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, David Freese and Jon Jay each drove in a run for St. Louis (43-24), which dropped to 4-3 on its current nine-game trip.
Despite Friday’s loss, the Cardinals are 23-9 over their last 32 games in opposing ballparks. They are 19-7 in their last 26 road matchups versus Miami.
St. Louis will try to bounce back behind Lance Lynn (8-1, 3.00 ERA), who ranks among the NL leaders in wins, strikeouts per nine innings (9.11) and run-support average (6.67).
Lynn, though, wasn’t at his best Sunday, allowing four runs in six innings during an 11-4, 10-inning win at Cincinnati.
“It was one of those games where I felt the first batter in every inning was on, and I couldn’t get into a rhythm,” Lynn told MLB’s official website. “When you have those games, it’s just a grind.”
The Marlins counter with Tom Koehler (0-4, 3.91), who remains winless in seven career starts and 20 games overall. The right-hander has gone 0-4 with a 4.14 ERA in six starts since joining the rotation May 12.
Koehler gave up four runs and six hits over seven innings in Sunday’s 8-4, 10-inning road win over the New York Mets.
He’ll need to be cautious against Carlos Beltran, who’s batting .356 with four homers and 13 RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak. Craig has also been locked in of late, going 27 for 71 (.380) with three homers and 15 RBIs over a 17-game stretch.
The Marlins, meanwhile, could again be without Logan Morrison, who was scratched prior to Friday’s win with tightness in his back. Morrison, who missed the first two months of the season while recovering from knee surgery, is 4 for 9 in three games since debuting Sunday.
“Usually, back things are more than just a day,” Redmond said. “I would assume he’d be out for a couple of days. We’ll see. Hopefully not.”