Marlins spoil Cruz's big blast at home in 5-3 win over Cardinals

Thursday, June 28, 2012
St. Louis Cardinals starter Joe Kelly throws to the Miami Marlins during second the inning of a baseball game in Miami, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

MIAMI -- Tony Cruz found a great time to hit his first major league home run, connecting in front of more than 20 friends and family members.

Cruz, from nearby Palm Beach, Fla., put St. Louis ahead with a solo drive in the seventh inning.

John Buck and pinch-hitter Logan Morrison then connected for consecutive home runs in the bottom of the seventh to rally the Miami Marlins to a 5-3 win Wednesday night and end their eight-game losing streak against the Cardinals.

"I was just looking for a good pitch to hit, and I got it," Cruz said. "Thankfully it went out. It's a great feeling. I had a lot of family here tonight. They knew I was playing. I thank Mike [Matheny] for giving me the opportunity of letting me play in front of my family. Unfortunately we didn't get the win, though."

Playing at the new Marlins Park in front of his friends and family was something Cruz envisioned months ago.

Cardinals baserunner David Freese is tagged out at home by Marlins catcher John Buck during the first inning Wednesday in Miami. (J. PAT CARTER ~ Associated Press)

"I did imagine playing here after making the team out of spring training," he said. "I worked hard for it, and I did. To play here in front of the family is great."

Buck tied it with one out when he homered off Fernando Salas. Morrison then sent a drive off Sam Freeman (0-1) that hit the top of the right-field fence, bounced off a nearby railing and dropped back into play.

"I thought it hit the back of the concrete and went out," Morrison said. "I didn't even know it came back onto the field."

Morrison was allowed to finish his home-run trot after being stopped at second base while the umpires reviewed the play. It was Morrison's first career pinch-hit home run.

"Thank God we had instant replay because if not that would have been double," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It also helps the umpires. I don't think it killed anybody in baseball for that idea. It helped the game."

Cardinals relief pitcher Fernado Salas sits in the dugout during the eighth inning Wednesday in Miami. (J. PAT CARTER ~ Associated Press)

The Cardinals had won five in a row. Miami won for just the second time in 10 games.

"Any time you beat the Cardinals it's a good win, especially when they're playing that well," Buck said. "Hopefully it can be momentum we can build on and start our own little stretch here."

Buck has seven home runs this season, including three in his last six games. This was the second time the Marlins have hit back-to-back home runs this season -- Justin Ruggiano and Morrison accomplished the feat June 1 at Philadelphia.

Omar Infante's RBI double in the eighth gave the Marlins an insurance run.

Anibal Sanchez (4-6) ended his three-game losing streak. He allowed three runs over seven innings.

Steve Cishek pitched the eighth, and Heath Bell recorded his 15th save in 19 chances by pitching the ninth. He got Allen Craig to pop up with Matt Carpenter on second to end the game.

"Five consecutive wins is always a positive," Matheny said. "Guys are always going to remember that. That was a good run."

The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Beltran and an RBI double by David Freese.

The Marlins tied it at 2-2 in the fifth against Joe Kelly on an RBI single by Buck and a ground out by Jose Reyes.


* Cruz, a 25-year-old backup catcher, homered in his 117th career at-bat.

* Both teams will have the day off today before St. Louis hosts Pittsburgh, with RHP Adam Wainwright (6-7, 4.32 ERA) opposing RHP Kevin Correia (3-6, 4.03 ERA).

* Yadier Molina is third on the Cardinals with a .316 batting average. He ranks behind Lance Berkman and Jon Jay, who both have missed significant time because of injuries this season.

* Cardinals OF Beltran leads the NL in home runs and RBIs.

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