MIAMI -- Wasting prime scoring chances against an All-Star opponent is generally a recipe for failure.
The Miami Marlins had Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright set up Tuesday for a first-inning fall like he endured in the All-Star Game last month. Unfortunately, they didn't have a Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera to make it happen.
But in a similar situation three innings later, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Donovan Solano did a credible impression of the American League stars during a three-run uprising against Wainwright.
With Jarred Cosart pitching a gem to outduel Wainwright in his second Marlins start, it was enough for a series-clinching 3-0 victory over the Cardinals at Marlins Park.
"Obviously, it's a huge win against a team that's in front of us in a playoff race against one of the best pitchers in baseball. It's a great team win," Cosart said. "I've had to face David Price a few times. You go into starts like this knowing the runs are going to be, hopefuly, limited on both sides."
Casey McGehee sparked the rally in the fourth by hustling to a leadoff double, taking advantage of left fielder Matt Holliday taking his time returning the ball to the infield. Following his first slump of the season, McGehee was 2-for-3 and has hit in six straight.
Saltalamacchia drove him in with a crisp single to right. Solano, given an infrequent start at second base, followed two batters later by golfing a Wainwright sinker off the foul pole in left for a two-run home run, his second of the season.
"I thought it was foul. But I saw the ball come back to fair territory. That's when I started to run. I'm blessed," Solano said.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said, "If I could get a golf ball to do that I might think about switching sports."
Cosart showed no signs of rust from the layoff, allowing only two base runners through five. The right-hander, the centerpiece acquisition in the recent trade with Houston, retired the first seven Cardinals before Mark Ellis lined a single to right.
As in his Aug.1 start against Cincinnati, when a three-run sixth inning was his undoing, Cosart found himself at the same crossroads when Ellis led off with another single and first baseman Garrett Jones booted a would-be double-play grounder.
This time Cosart showed the fortitude the Marlins were banking on when they dealt a couple of top prospects to obtain him. He kept the Cardinals from scoring by inducing a groundout and then firing a fastball past Holliday, their most dangerous hitter, for an inning-ending strikeout.
"I guess I was comfortable after we got on the board first to go out there and try to pound the zone and get quick outs," Cosart said. "Salty and I were on the same page the whole game. I think the three times I shook him off they got hits. So I'll learn from that going forward."
Another solid effort by the bullpen completed the shutout, with Mike Dunn striking out pinch-hitter Matt Adams for his fourth career save as closer Steve Cishek got the night off.
The Marlins had Wainwright in a bind in the first, loading the bases with one out, but couldn't cash in. The right-hander labored through a 25-pitch inning but showed All-Star moxy in striking out Jones and Saltalamacchia on slow curves to leave them loaded.
Against a savvy opponent with the third-best ERA in the league (2.28), that didn't bode well. But Wainwright hasn't been as formidable since his All-Star comeuppance, going into Tuesday's start with a 4.88 ERA post break.
Aside from the first and fourth innings, Wainwright was in firm control while also going seven innings. He got Giancarlo Stanton, who clubbed two homers in Monday's series opener, to hit into two double plays.
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