ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A.J. Burnett's first start since the Florida
Marlins decided to keep him at the trade deadline was a lot like
the three before that.
Burnett has won his last four outings with a 1.93 ERA in that
span, so talk of getting dealt did not affect him.
"Now that all the trades are over with, all the talk is over
with, it's time to get serious and really step it up and win this
thing," Burnett said. "That's really driving me and motivating
Jeff Conine, Cabrera and Paul Lo Duca -- the Marlins' 3-4-5
hitters -- went 9-for-11 against Jeff Suppan with three RBI. They
scored all the runs for Florida, which avoided its first three-game
losing streak since July 16-18. Suppan held the rest of the lineup
to 1-for-19, the hit an RBI single by Alex Gonzalez.
"I think they're swinging the bats really well right now,"
Suppan said. "They gave me a tough time."
Cabrera, who was a quiet 3-for-12 with one RBI in the first
three games, hit a two-run homer in the first, doubled and singled
twice off Suppan. Lo Duca had three singles and an RBI and Conine
singled twice and scored twice.
"The last three games they were working me inside, and today I
said I was going to be ready," Cabrera said. "I had a good
Seven of the Marlins' hits came with two outs against Suppan,
who needed 51 pitches to get the first two outs of innings in his 6
2-3-inning stint, but 45 to get the third out. Suppan (10-8) gave
up four runs and 10 hits, losing for the first time in six starts.
"A lot of things happened with two outs and nobody on and boom,
boom," manager Tony La Russa said. "That's a good way to win and
a tough way to lose."
Burnett (9-6) mostly dominated with a sinker that forced 14
groundball outs, carrying a shutout into the eighth before tiring
against an injury-riddled lineup missing five starters. He gave up
three runs and 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings, ending a string of 21
consecutive scoreless innings.
"I didn't have my curveball early, so we just let them put it
play and threw them sinker after sinker," Burnett said. "They
pounded it into the ground."
The Cardinals had only one runner in scoring position over the
first seven innings before breaking through in the eighth.
Pinch-hitter Hector Luna singled with one out, stole second and
went to third on catcher Lo Duca's wild throw, then scored on a
double by John Rodriguez.
"He's out of the jam if we catch the ball in right field,"
manager Jack McKeon said. "He could have gone all the way, but
then he got in a rut and everything was going against him so it was
time to change."
Todd Jones got So Taguchi on a groundout with runners on second
and third to end the eighth and finished for his 22nd save in 24
chances. Jones had his first at-bat of the season, taking a called
third strike for the first out in the ninth.
"I want you to recognize that Tony respects my power by
bringing in the lefty to face me, not [Juan] Pierre," Jones joked
Conine singled with two outs in the first and Cabrera followed
with his 24th homer. Leadoff singles by Cabrera, Lo Duca and a
two-out hit by Gonzalez made it 3-0 in the fourth.
In the fifth the Marlins bunched two-out singles by Conine,
Cabrera and Lo Duca to go ahead 4-0.
Cabrera is batting (.447) 34-for-76 since the All-Star
break and .355 for the season, three points behind NL leading
Derrek Lee of the Cubs. "That's two months," Cabrera said. "A
lot of things can happen." ... Burnett has allowed three or fewer
runs in 18 of his 22 starts. ... Both regular 2Bs got the day off.
The Marlins' Jose Castillo, who was 5-for-11 in the series, has leg
soreness. The Cardinals' Mark Grudzielanek got his second break in
20 games since the All-Star break but entered as a defensive
replacement in the ninth. ... A sellout crowd of 44,201 was the
Cardinals' 18th straight game with over 40,000 in attendance.