Wacha pitches five strong innings as Cardinals lose final game in Florida
JUPITER, Fla. — Michael Wacha looked sharp in his final spring start Thursday, giving up a run in five innings of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 6-4 loss to the Miami Marlins.
Wacha gave up four hits and struck out six. He is scheduled to start the Cardinals’ second game of the season, on Tuesday at Cincinnati. He will start the home opener in St. Louis on April 7.
Wacha did struggle in the fifth. Derek Dietrich led off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on Marcell Ozuna’s single and scored on Brian Bogusevic’s sacrifice fly to right.
"It got a little away from me in that last inning, but overall I was pretty happy with it," Wacha said.
Marlins infielder Ed Lucas broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch. His injury should make room for Donovan Solano, who was sent to Triple-A New Orleans earlier in the day.
The Marlins won all six games against the Cardinals this spring. After losing 100 games last season, they finished 2014 Grapefruit League play at 18-11-2.
"It doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s a pickup game or a spring training game — winning is winning," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "We all like to win. It feels good for everybody."
The Cardinals were 11-13-2.
Shelby Miller will remain in Jupiter when the Cardinals head north on Friday. Miller will pitch in a minor-league game Saturday before rejoining the club. He is scheduled to start the Cardinals’ fourth game of the season at Pittsburgh.
Reliever Jason Motte will face minor-league hitters Saturday. He is working his way back from elbow-ligament replacement surgery and could be ready for major-league action by the end of April.
Jaime Garcia is expected to throw another bullpen session in the next couple of days. No time frame has been set for his return.
The Cardinals employed a defensive shift against left-handed-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia that moved third baseman Matt Carpenter into short right field, leaving shortstop Jhonny Peralta as the lone defender on the left side of the infield. Saltalamacchia hit the ball to the perfectly positioned Carpenter, who threw on to first for an unconventional 5-3 putout.
The Cardinals averaged 6,733 fans for their 14 home games at Roger Dean Stadium, an increase of more than 500 fans per game from last season. It’s the largest average attendance in the Grapefruit League for St. Louis since 2010. The Marlins averaged 4,532 fans — which is more than 300 per game more than last spring.