JUPITER, Fla. -- Jose Fernandez wasn't at his best, but the right-hander minimized damage and put his team in position to rally. They did, and J.T. Realmuto's two-run single in the sixth inning lifted the Marlins to a 4-2 win over the Cardinals on Sunday at Roger Dean Stadium.
Tommy Pham connected on a two-run homer off Fernandez in the fourth inning, but Miami's bullpen stepped up. Edwin Jackson threw two scoreless innings, and he was assisted by a key defensive stop by first baseman Justin Bour to get out of jam in the eighth inning.
After pulling even at 2 in the fifth inning, the Marlins claimed a two-run lead in the sixth inning on Realmuto's two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs off Sam Tuivailala. Tuivailala was later one of six players cut from the Cardinals' Major League camp.
With a sharp sinker, Garcia induced 11 groundouts.
"That's got to be close to the most balls I've ever had in a game," said shortstop Jedd Gyorko. "He was sinking it pretty good. He had good stuff today."
Fernandez worked 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with six strikeouts. His afternoon ended at 79 pitches.
Pham struck for a two-run homer off Fernandez with one out in the fourth inning. A one-out walk to Brayan Pena put the Miami right-hander in a bind, and Pham belted a full-count breaking ball over the wall in left.
"We all know the Cardinals," Fernandez said. "Anybody, no matter who, you've always got to be careful -- one out, two out. You've always got to be careful. But I think it was a good pitch. I was struggling a little bit to get my fastball down. It was a pitch for a strike. He put a good swing on it, and it goes real, real, real deep."
Fernandez breezed through the first inning, striking out two and topping his velocity at 98 mph.
In the second inning it was more of a challenge, as the Miami right-hander allowed three hits. But because of a baserunning blunder and a couple of strikeouts, Fernandez escaped without allowing a run.
Matt Adams and Gyorko each singled to open the second, but confusion occurred on Pena's hit to deep center. Not sure if the ball would be caught, Adams tagged at second, and Gyorko passed his teammate on the bases, resulting in an out. Pena made it to second, and Adams advanced to third. Fernandez still escaped by striking out Pham on a curveball. Greg Garcia was intentionally walked, and Jaime Garcia struck out.
"Adams did the right thing by holding ground so he could go back and tag," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "If you're not on third base after that happens, somebody is going to be in trouble. Jedd just needs to give him a little space to do that, staying on the first-base side of second. Worst-case scenario is we have bases loaded."
Up next for the Cardinals: Although he's not scheduled to make his regular-season debut until April 9, Carlos Martinez will make his final Grapefruit League start on Monday, when the Cardinals host the Mets in a 12:05 p.m. CT game at Roger Dean Stadium. Martinez scattered two hits over five scoreless innings in his last outing. Second baseman Kolten Wong, who suffered a left knee contusion on Saturday, is expected back in the lineup for the game, which will be shown on MLB.TV.
Up next for the Marlins: The Marlins will travel to Viera, Fla., on Monday to face the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. A number of regulars will not be making the trip. Lefty Chris Narveson will be making the start for Miami. Stephen Strasburg is set for Washington. Christian Yelich, Hechavarria and Johnson are scheduled to be in the lineup.
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.