MIAMI -- Battling back has become common for the Cardinals, who erased a four-run deficit in the eighth inning and rallied past the Marlins, 6-5, on Tuesday night at Marlins Park.
Dexter Fowler's pinch-hit RBI single off A.J. Ramos in the ninth inning scored Magneuris Sierra from second, capping the late-inning comeback to secure St. Louis' fifth straight win. The run was unearned because Ramos' throwing error allowed Sierra, who had an infield single, to advance to second. After opening the season at 3-9, the first-place Cardinals improved to 18-14.
"A game like this is really big for any team," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You play well, you're in it, and all of a sudden you get the air kicked out of you, and you find a way to get back on your feet. It shows me a lot about our club."
Of Fowler's game-winning hit, Ramos said: "He hit a pitch that was almost in the dirt. It was low, down. He put a good swing on it. Thinking about that now, obviously, you think, 'Oh, maybe I should have thrown a fastball or something else.' No, if he doesn't hit that ball, you don't second-guess yourself. He put a good swing on it. He beat me on that pitch, that's all I can say about that."
"It's hard to stay engaged," said Fowler, who hasn't been in the starting lineup since jamming his right shoulder diving for a fly ball on Thursday. "You see the boys out there grinding. So you want to get in there and help. So you get a little anxious. It's just an at-bat. You've got to go up there and give a quality AB."
The Marlins, meanwhile, claimed a 5-1 lead in the sixth inning on Derek Dietrich's two-run double, Justin Bour's run-scoring single and J.T. Riddle's sacrifice fly. But Miami, which at one time was 10-8, fell to 13-19, the first time the Marlins have been as many as six games under .500.
Miami right-hander Dan Straily had his sixth straight start of not allowing more than four hits. Straily limited the Cardinals to three hits, one run and struck out five in seven innings. With the bat, Straily helped his cause by driving in Miami's first run with a perfectly executed suicide squeeze in the fifth inning.
"As the self-proclaimed best bunter on the pitching staff, I was anticipating it," Straily said of the squeeze call. "When you look back at it, 3-2, is probably the best time to do the suicide squeeze. I was just waiting for it, waiting for it, when he put it on, I stayed back and let instincts take over."
Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Left-on-left results: The Cardinals played the percentages, and the results went in favor of the Marlins in their four-run sixth inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Wainwright intentionally walked Giancarlo Stanton in a tie game. The Cardinals went with Brett Cecil, the lefty, to face three straight left-handed-hitting Marlins. With the bases full, Dietrich laced a two-run double to right, and Bour added an RBI single to right. Riddle, after falling behind 0-2, lifted a sacrifice fly to center, and Miami had a four-run advantage. Per Statcast™, the exit velocities of Dietrich's double and Bour's single were 107.2 mph and 110.4 mph, respectively.
Clawing back with four: The Marlins handed a four-run lead over to Kyle Barraclough in the eighth inning, and the former Cardinals farmhand was tagged for four runs. St. Louis scratched back with the first four batters reaching, including pinch-hitter Matt Adams, who hit an RBI single. Randal Grichuk lifted a sacrifice fly to left with the bases full, and the ball nearly had enough for a grand slam. When Matt Carpenter walked, Barraclough was replaced by Brad Ziegler, who inherited the bases loaded. Jedd Gyorko greeted Ziegler's first pitch with a two-run single to left, tying the game at 5.
"There's really no need [to argue]. The way our bullpen is built, the way they shut down games, there's no reason. It's not up to me to say yes or no. You're doing what you're told. I have every belief in those guys." -- Straily, on handing the ball over to the bullpen in the eighth inning
YELICH, MATTINGLY EJECTED
Less than one inning into the game, the Marlins had center fielder Christian Yelich and manager Don Mattingly ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Yelich was called out looking at a 2-2 curveball by home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher. Contending the pitch was outside, Yelich stayed a few seconds in the box to say a few words with Fletcher. The ejections came after Yelich returned to the dugout and Marcell Ozuna was getting ready to hit.
First Yelich was tossed, and Mattingly was thrown out after arguing with Fletcher at home plate, his second ejection in two days. Ichiro Suzuki took over in center field for Yelich.
"It was interesting, no doubt," bench coach Tim Wallach said of taking over as manager the second straight night. "I'm prepared for that every night. It's something that is part of my duties. I'm ready to go. If something does happen like that, with Yelly, luckily we have Ich."
HECHAVARRIA EXITS AFTER THREE
With the Marlins already thin on middle-infield depth, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was removed from the game after the third inning. Hechavarria grounded out to second base in the third inning, and ran slowly to first base. For the top of the fourth inning, Riddle took over at shortstop.
Hechavarria felt a tug in his left oblique. As a precaution, the team took him out. More will be known on Wednesday as to whether it is minor or more serious.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals lost a challenge in the ninth inning. They challenged the ruling that Kolten Wong was out at first completing an inning-ending double play. But after a review, the ruling was that the call stands.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: Right-hander Lance Lynn gets the start for the Cardinals when they close out a three-game series at 6:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Marlins Park. A winner in each of his last four starts, Lynn has given up just two earned runs over that span, covering 25 innings.
Marlins: Closing out the series with the Cardinals at 7:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday is right-hander Tom Koehler (1-1, 5.40). The veteran is 1-3 with a 7.84 ERA in four career starts against St. Louis.