MIAMI (AP) The ground balls came the way Jake Westbrook wanted. Outs proved more elusive.
Pitching for the first time since May 8, Westbrook gave up eight hits in five innings Friday, and the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Miami Marlins, 5-4.
The right-hander, who had been sidelined with elbow inflammation, allowed five runs, two of them unearned.
“I felt good enough to pitch better than that,” said Westbrook (2-2). “Overall, my arm felt good. Just came out on the wrong end.”
All but three of Westbrook’s 15 outs came on grounders, which suggests his sinker was working. But several other balls scooted through the infield, and he also allowed three doubles.
“I made good pitches and got a lot of ground balls,” he said. “A lot of them found holes, but if I keep putting the ball in the ground, I’ll be better off more times than not.”
Westbrook also gave up an RBI double by Greg Dobbs and a two-run double by Giancarlo Stanton.
“He elevated it more when they got the extra-base hits,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He wasn’t as sharp as he normally is, but he’s coming back from an injury.”
Rookie Jose Fernandez had a career-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings to help the team with the worst record in the majors beat the team with the best record.
The 20-year-old Fernandez (4-3) became the first pitcher under the age of 21 to strike out 10 or more since Felix Hernandez with Seattle in 2007. Relying heavily on breaking balls, he threw a career-high 107 pitches and allowed three runs, two earned.
“I was looking forward to this start,” Fernandez said. “They’re a great team. They’ve got great hitters. Everybody knows the Cardinals, one through nine, can create a mess in two seconds.”
Fernandez settled down after giving up two runs and three hits in the first inning. He had a 1-2-3 third, striking out Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Allen Craig.
“He really was in complete control of that game after the first inning,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “He set the tone against a great team, a great lineup, and it was fun to watch him. He can pitch.”
Fernandez improved to 4-1 over his past eight starts with a 2.42 ERA. He also singled home a run.
“He did a lot of things right,” Matheny said. “We knew he was going to be a handful.”
The Marlins won despite going 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position. They’ve won seven of their past 13 games, their best stretch this season.
Beltran singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, but Marlins relievers retired the final five batters. Steve Cishek pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances.
Plate umpire Phil Cuzzi reversed himself on a call in the fifth, which led to a Marlins run. When Ed Lucas tried to bunt, Cuzzi initially said the pitch had been fouled. But after Redmond came onto the field and pointed out the blood on Lucas’ hand, Cuzzi ruled he had been hit by the pitch.
“He said, ‘OK, I’ll give it to you.’ I said, ‘Thank you,'” Redmond said. “It broke his skin. He took his glove off, and he had a little cut there. It was bleeding, so it wasn’t a tough sell.”
Said Matheny: “We couldn’t argue with that too much.”
Lucas then scored on Stanton’s double to make it 5-2.
Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter mishandled Derek Dietrich’s grounder for an error to start the second inning, and Miami went on to score two unearned runs. Jeff Mathis had an RBI groundout, and Fernandez followed with a two-out run-scoring single for his third RBI this year.
“I keep getting lucky, man,” Fernandez said.
The Cardinals scored in the first on consecutive RBI singles by Craig and Yadier Molina. The hits came after an error by third baseman Lucas, and one run was unearned.
Jon Jay had a two-out RBI double for the Cardinals in the sixth. David Freese doubled home a run in the eighth.
“We made a very good run, but it was too little, too late,” Matheny said.
NOTES: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi, who is on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis, is scheduled to make his season debut Tuesday at Arizona. … New Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace threw out the first pitch. … The Cardinals rank last in the majors with 18 stolen bases. … The Cardinals fell to 48-29 in Miami.