With Rosenthal hanging tightly to a one-run lead with two outs and a runner on first in the ninth, McGehee worked a full count and proceeded to foul off five straight pitches. The 11th pitch flew off his bat and found grass in right-center to even the score before the Marlins got a go-ahead single to secure a 6-5 comeback win over the Cardinals in front of 45,445 at Busch Stadium.
"It was a tough at-bat against a good hitter," Rosenthal said after his fourth blown save this season. "He won the battle."
Rosenthal needed 31 pitches to close out Friday's game, allowing two ninth-inning runs before sealing a one-run victory by getting McGehee to roll over a changeup for a game-ending double play. McGehee would say later he wished he could have a do-over.
That opportunity came quickly. After Randy Choate retired the first batter of the ninth Saturday, Rosenthal surrendered a single to Donovan Solano before striking out Giancarlo Stanton to bring up McGehee as the Marlins' last chance with two outs.
McGehee fouled off six pitches during the 11-pitch at-bat, just getting a piece of a changeup before he finally put Rosenthal's 23rd pitch of the day in fair territory to bring Solano home from first base.
"He kept making pretty good pitches, and finally I was able to get a pitch I can handle, the last pitch," McGehee said. "The more pitches you see out of the same guy's hand, the more comfortable you are."
A relay throw home attempting to nail Solano and end the game slipped away from catcher Yadier Molina.
"I was coming in to argue that he had him, and Yadi at that point let me know that he dropped it," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That was a tough hop."
"It just came out at the last minute," added Mark Ellis, who relayed the throw home.
Sam Freeman replaced Rosenthal from there, allowing McGehee to score the go-ahead run on a single to left by pinch-hitter Jeff Baker. The Cardinals couldn't answer.
"You don't have many times you have that kind of lead," Matheny said. "We had some nice offense to give us a little bit of room, and that went away in a hurry. Guys worked hard to get us into the last inning, and we just didn't have enough to finish."
The assertions that the Cardinals' power will eventually show itself have bordered on a pressing desire to stop talking about home runs and instead start hitting them. The Cards did exactly that to build a lead in the fourth inning.
After the teams exchanged single runs in the first inning, Matt Holliday's two-out single in the fourth drove in the tiebreaker. The next two two-out hits provided the offensive onslaught the Cardinals have awaited.
Allen Craig, who had been out of the starting lineup the last two games in favor of other matchups, drove a 2-0 fastball 398 feet into the bleachers in right-center. The homer, Craig's seventh of the season and first in 124 at-bats dating back to May 29, extended the Redbirds' lead to three.
Jhonny Peralta followed with a 396-foot towering shot to left, his team-leading 13th, hitting it high off the foul pole to cap the Cardinals' scoring and draw a standing ovation from a power-starved crowd. The homer also gave the Cardinals, who entered Saturday tied for last in the Majors in homers, back-to-back dingers for the first time this season -- and first since June 30, 2013.
Cards starter Shelby Miller, coming off a start in which he surrendered six runs in five innings, fared better against the Marlins, but not without some pressure-filled innings.
Three of the first four Marlins hitters singled to begin the game, but Miller limited the damage to one run while stranding runners on the corners. With runners on the corners again in the fourth and one out, Miller fielded a squeeze attempt and tossed the ball home for the out as he dove. He used one of his two strikeouts to work out of the jam.
Two one-out singles ended his day in the sixth before reliever Seth Maness served up a 420-foot three-run homer to Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich to straightaway center, bringing Miami within one run.
"We're in a big situation where we just came off a nice inning where you get a couple back-to-back home runs and got a lot of positive momentum going," Matheny said. "That really took some wind out of the sail."
Miller lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits.
"I felt more in-synch than last time, still a little shaky at times," Miller said. "I wasn't out there feeling like I could hit every spot. I was kind of grinding it out a little bit. We had some good plays made, but at the end of the day, we just didn't come out on top."
Maness settled down for a scoreless seventh, Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the second time in as many days and Choate got Yelich to line out to open the ninth.
But Rosenthal, a night after escaping a drama-filled ninth, couldn't finish this one.
"I always feel bad letting down the team, but that's part of the game," Rosenthal said. "No one is perfect, so I have to go out there again and try to do my best."