Miller on point in battle for fifth-starter role
Cardinals' offense breaks out of funk, led by Craig's homer, in win over Marlins
JUPITER, Fla. -- After scoring just two runs in their last three games, the Cardinals broke out for twice as many against Marlins starter Jacob Turner on Tuesday, en route to a 5-4 victory at Roger Dean Stadium. The win snapped the Cardinals' three-game losing streak.
Allen Craig put St. Louis on the board with a fourth-inning solo home run. Oscar Taveras followed with a single, stole second and scored on Shane Robinson's single to center. Robinson leads the Cardinals with 12 RBIs this spring.
The Cardinals tacked on two more runs in the fifth, which began with a bunt single by pitcher Joe Kelly. Consecutive doubles from Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter gave the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.
Still trying to convince the Marlins he deserves a place in their rotation, Turner gave up seven hits in five innings. He threw 64 pitches, 42 for strikes. All three of his spring starts have come against St. Louis, whose manager, Mike Matheny, once coached Turner in high school.
The Cardinals used Tuesday's game to get another look at the two pitchers competing for the fifth spot in their rotation. Shelby Miller made the start and breezed through four innings. He walked one, allowed one hit and ended his day by retiring 11 straight. Miller threw 31 of his 43 pitches for strikes.
Kelly followed, but wasn't as sharp. His outing lasted only three innings, and the Marlins knocked Kelly around for six hits (all singles) and four runs in the seventh inning. Placido Polanco capped the scoring with a two-run single, while Juan Pierre and Adeiny Hechavarria also had RBI hits.
"I thought they both did a nice job," Matheny said of Kelly and Miller. "I saw some positive things out of both of them. They just keep making this [decision] tougher on us, and that's what they should be doing. They continue to get their pitch counts built up and everybody is moving forward in a good direction."
Kelly contributed at the plate, though. His two-out, RBI single off Marlins reliever Chad Qualls in the sixth proved to be the game-winner.
Up next: The Cardinals have their third and final off-day of the spring on Wednesday. When they return on Thursday, Adam Wainwright will be starting the team's 12:05 p.m. CT road game against the Mets. The game can be seen live on MLB.TV. The Cardinals are optimistic third baseman David Freese (bruised tailbone) will be cleared to return to the field. He has not played since March 14.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.