Stanton's early offense enough for Alvarez, Marlins

Homer, RBI double back ace's three innings before rain delay in win over Cards

Stanton's early offense enough for Alvarez, Marlins

JUPITER, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton blasted a home run and tacked on an RBI double on Thursday as the Marlins edged the Cardinals, 5-3, at Roger Dean Stadium. The Miami slugger connected for the second time this spring, unloading a mammoth drive off Adam Wainwright in the first inning.

Jason Heyward responded in the bottom of the frame with a big blast of his own, putting the Cardinals on the board against Henderson Alvarez. The shot to right was Heyward's first extra-base hit in Grapefruit League play.

Heyward's solo shot

Most of the starters for both teams made quick exits due to a 55-minute rain delay with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Matt Holliday had two singles and drove in a run for the Cardinals.

Holliday's RBI single

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Heyward, 8-for-25 entering the day, emphatically ended his extra-base hit drought by blasting a pitch off Alvarez onto the porch of the Cardinals' front-office building, which stands well beyond the right-field wall.

A mid-afternoon downpour prematurely ended the day for Wainwright, who was making his second start of the spring. He allowed the early Stanton homer, one of six hits the Marlins had off Wainwright in 3 2/3 innings. Wainwright entered the day focused on establishing command of his fastball and changeup, but he didn't end up finding it until he threw extra pitches in the covered cages to compensate for the rain-shortened start.

Wainwright sits down Morse

Dee Gordon paced the Majors with 12 triples last year, and the speedster was off and running in the third inning on Thursday. Gordon's second triple of Spring Training setup the go-ahead run.

Gordon's 3rd inning triple

Alvarez, the presumed Miami Opening Day starter, threw three innings, giving up two runs on four hits. The right-hander exited after 43 pitches due to the delay. Alvarez threw another 45 pitches in the covered cages, simulating three innings of work, while getting himself up to roughly 90 pitches. Lefty Andrew McKirahan took over in the fourth inning.

Alvarez's first strikeout

Quotable

"I'm ready to go play some games and play the ones that count. Right now, I feel like since the starters are staying in longer, everybody is feeling more in-season mode as far as treating your at-bats more regularly." -- Heyward

"The beauty, too, is these guys are working together, talking about doing some different stuff in different situations. That's what you want. This is a team. You want guys to work together, thinking about some situations they get into, what they can do. That's what Spring Training is for, let guys go out and compete and work on some things together. That's the fun part." -- manager Mike Redmond, on No. 2 hitter Christian Yelich working on a safety squeeze bunt with leadoff man Gordon on third

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Redmond has some lineup stability this season. A year ago, Redmond used 102 different starting lineups. This year, the regulars have been pretty much locked into the order: Gordon, Christian Yelich, Stanton, Michael Morse, Martin Prado, Marcell Ozuna, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Adeiny Hechavarria.

Ichiro Suzuki, drew his first walk of Spring Training in his 37th plate appearance. It came with the bases loaded in the third inning against Wainwright, plating a run.

Cardinals utilityman Pete Kozma entered the day leading all National League hitters with a .452 spring average. He went 1-for-2 and has now hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. Kozma's second stolen base of the spring helped generate the team's third run.

INJURY UPDATES

Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter returned to the field a day after making an early exit due to a right quad contusion. Carpenter had been hit in the upper right leg by a Max Scherzer pitch in his first plate appearance on Wednesday. Manager Mike Matheny removed him for precautionary reasons, but he had every expectation that Carpenter would be back in the lineup a day later.

Marlins right-hander Jarred Cosart, scratched from Friday's start due to a blister on his right middle finger, did some light throwing on Thursday. Cosart will be re-evaluated in the next day or two.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Cardinals have a pair of split-squad games on tap for Friday, with Carlos Martinez slated to start on the road against Washington and veteran John Lackey getting the starting assignment at home against the Mets. This will be the third spring start for Lackey, while Martinez will be making his fifth audition for a regular-season rotation job. Matheny will accompany the group traveling to Viera, Fla., while bench coach David Bell will manage the home game. Both games have a scheduled 12:05 pm CT first pitch, with the home game on MLB.TV and the road one on Gameday Audio.

The Marlins play a night game against the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla., on Friday (6:05 p.m. ET, Gameday Audio). Lefty Brad Hand is getting the start in place of Cosart. Hand has a 1.80 ERA in 10 Grapefruit League innings. Hand projects to make the club as a long reliever, but he could be an option to be in the rotation if any of the projected five aren't ready. The Marlins are sending many of their starters, including Stanton. Lefty Dallas Keuchel will start for the Astros.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.