MIAMI -- Marlins right-hander Mat Latos gave up just three hits in seven innings on Wednesday night, but the Cardinals did serious damage with two of them. Kolten Wong belted a two-run homer and Jason Heyward added a three-run blast that lifted St. Louis to a 6-1 victory at Marlins Park.
The two blasts held because the Marlins were unable to manage much off lefty Jaime Garcia, who allowed one run, on a Giancarlo Stanton homer, in seven innings. St. Louis secured the series win and improved to a Major League-best 47-24, while Miami has dropped three straight and is a season-worst 13 games under .500 (30-43).
"Two mistakes. Ambushed on a changeup. It was right down the middle," Latos said. "[Wong] did what he was supposed to do with it. And I made a mistake with a fastball away. We'd been jamming Heyward pretty good all day. All of a sudden, we go away, and I made a mistake with a ball up out over the plate -- five runs."
St. Louis certainly capitalized on its chances, leaving just one runner on base. All five baserunners Latos allowed scored.
A one-out walk to Randal Grichuk in the third inning came back to haunt Latos, because with two outs, Wong blasted a two-run homer to right, putting the Cardinals in front, 2-1.
Wong's homer was the only hit Latos allowed until Jhonny Peralta's single to open the seventh. After Mark Reynolds walked, Heyward blistered a three-run drive to right, his third in as many games.
"We didn't have a hit on the board, and then next thing you know we have a one-run lead with the ball that Wong jumped on," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Then some other guys put together a couple of good at-bats."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Garcia spins gem: Other than Stanton's second-inning blast, Garcia stifled the Marlins. He allowed one run and five hits to earn his third victory of the year. In seven starts this season, Garcia has worked at least six innings and allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his outings, but he exited the contest after sustaining a cramp in his left groin area while running the bases. More >
"Something grabbed me there," Garcia said. "We'll see how it feels, and it should be OK, hopefully."
Heyward homers in seventh: It was a 92 mph fastball left up and over the plate by Latos, and Heyward didn't miss it. With two on and no outs in the seventh, the Cardinals right fielder delivered a line-drive home run to right field to put St. Louis up, 5-1. It was his ninth homer of the season -- including the second in as many nights. More >
Stanton matches record: The month of June is winding down, but Stanton's home run production isn't. For the second straight night, the Marlins slugger homered. He blasted Garcia's 91 mph two-seam fastball over the wall in center in the second inning. Stanton now has 12 homers in June, which matches a franchise record for most homers in any month. Stanton (2012) and Dan Uggla (2008) each belted 12 homers in May. Statcast™ projected Stanton's 27th homer at 454 feet, with an exit velocity of 115 mph. Stanton now has 27 homers, which paces the Majors. The team record for homers before the All-Star break is 28, by Mike Lowell in 2003. More >
Standout Miami defense: One reason Latos allowed just one hit through six innings was because of standout defensive plays from shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and second baseman Dee Gordon. In the fourth inning, Hechavarria ranged deep into the hole at short, and threw out Peralta at first. An even more acrobatic play was turned in by Gordon in the fifth inning, when he perfectly timed a leaping grab on Jon Jay's hot liner.
"Defensively, again another tremendous night with the plays with Hech and Dee on the catch on the line drive," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said.
"I pitched pretty good to start the game off. Not making mistakes and hitting my spots. Then I make a mistake ... boom. That's what they're supposed to do. But sometimes you get away with stuff like that. It just seems to be a theme of my season. The minute I make a mistake, I'm getting hit." -- Latos
"Jaime's been pitching his butt off for us, and it's good to repay him for how he's been doing for us and keeping us in ballgames for seven-plus innings." -- Wong, on supplying run support for Garcia
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals challenged Matt Carpenter's RBI single in the eighth inning, after he was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a double. Miami's Christian Yelich made an accurate throw to Gordon, who applied the tag. Carpenter was called out, and after review, the call was confirmed. It appeared Carpenter's leg came off the bag on his headfirst slide.
NHL SPECIAL GUESTS
On a steaming hot 95-degree South Florida day, there was some hockey fever at Marlins Park. Before the Marlins took batting practice, six special guests were on the field. They were the projected top six prospects in the National Hockey League draft, which is set for Friday. Included was Connor McDavid, expected to go No. 1 to Edmonton. The hockey players also participated in the ceremonial first pitch.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals:Lance Lynn returns from the 15-day disabled list to make his first start since June 7 in the series finale at Marlins Park on Thursday night (6:10 CT). Lynn, who has been sidelined with a right forearm strain, is 3-0 with a 3.62 ERA in three career starts vs. the Marlins.
Marlins: Right-hander Dan Haren (6-4, 3.19 ERA) will face his former team in the series finale Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET. In seven career starts vs. St. Louis, Haren is 4-2 with a 4.05 ERA.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish
Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.