Mather's four-RBI day boosts Cards

Mather's four-RBI day boosts Cards

CARDINALS 7, MARLINS 4
at Jupiter, Fla.
Sunday, March 7

Marlins at the plate: Brett Carroll hit a solo home run. Donnie Murphy had a two-run double and Jorge Jimenez drove in a run as Florida rallied to make it close in the eighth. Brett Hayes had three hits, and Hanley Ramirez and Gaby Sanchez both singled.

Cardinals at the plate: Joe Mather had the game's biggest hit, a three-run fourth-inning double that put the Cardinals firmly in command. Mather also added an RBI single in the sixth. Yadier Molina singled twice, scored and drove in a run.

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Marlins on the mound: Things were a bit rocky for the Marlins' first two left-handers, Sean West and Andrew Miller, as they vie to make the club's rotation. West allowed a run on one hit in two innings but issued three walks against one strikeout. Miller permitted three runs on three hits in his two frames, walking two without a strikeout.

Cardinals on the mound: Both of St. Louis' rotation candidates fared well, but especially starter Kyle McClellan. The right-hander struck out four over three shutout innings, allowing a hit and no walks. Rich Hill allowed a wind-assisted home run but struck out two and didn't issue a walk, holding Florida to a run over two innings.

Worth noting: Marlins center fielder Cameron Maybin left the game in the eighth inning with a left groin strain. Mather's four RBIs were more than any Cardinal had in the first three games of Spring Training combined.

Grapefruit League records: Marlins 3-1; Cardinals 1-3

Up next: The Marlins have a split-squad day on Monday, taking on the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. The other half of the team will head to Viera to face the Nationals. Ryan Tucker will get the nod against the Mets, who are pitching John Maine. Cody Ross, who has been resting a sore right thumb, is expected to play right field against the Mets. Facing the Nationals will be Ricky Nolasco, who makes his first Grapefruit League start. Nolasco pitched Wednesday in an exhibition against the University of Miami. Former Marlin Scott Olsen will pitch for the Nationals.

It's a high-wattage pitching matchup for the Cardinals on Monday as they begin a two-game road trip. For their first of two consecutive games in Fort Myers, the Redbirds will send ace and likely Opening Day starter Chris Carpenter to the mound for his first start in Grapefruit League play. Boston will counter with another high-profile righty, the hard-throwing Josh Beckett.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.