Marlins hold Cards scoreless over last eight innings in win

MIAMI (AP) -- When the first five St. Louis batters reached base, pitcher Chris Volstad and the Florida Marlins appeared to be headed for a long night.

Turned out they were -- but only because of the rain.

Hanley Ramirez hit a three-run homer and Florida pitchers held the Cardinals scoreless over the last eight innings as the Marlins rallied for a rain-delayed 4-3 victory Tuesday night.

Volstad (4-2) pitched five innings for the win in his sixth major league start. He gave up five hits and three walks, overcoming a poor start that put Florida in a 3-0 hole.

"That first inning, it didn't seem like it was going anywhere," Volstad said. "But I was able to settle in. After that first inning, I tried to think of it as a new game, start fresh and keep my team in the game. We put up some runs and the bullpen held it. It was big for us."

Volstad yielded only two hits and a walk in his final four innings, helping third-place Florida move within 1½ of games of NL East-leading Philadelphia.

"Here he is, this young kid who's able to do it," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Good for him. He didn't lose his composure and made some adjustments and gave us five innings.

"He settled down. You wish there hadn't been a rain delay because you wanted to see how far he could go."

Four Florida relievers combined for four shutout innings after a delay of 1 hour, 53 minutes in the bottom of the fifth. Kevin Gregg pitched a perfect ninth for his 26th save in 32 opportunities.

The Cardinals didn't get a runner past second base after the first inning, and Florida evened the four-game series between surprising playoff contenders at a game apiece.

"It was rough," said Ryan Ludwick, who hit a three-run double for St. Louis. "We got the three runs early, but we didn't get much going after that."

Kyle Lohse (13-5) gave up four runs and six hits, losing for the third time in four decisions. He came out after the rain delay.

"Kyle did a good job," Ludwick said. "He made one mistake and it cost three runs. If it wasn't for the rain delay, I think he would have been lights out for quite a while."

Ramirez gave Florida a 4-3 lead in the second inning when he hit a 2-0 pitch for his first home run in August. He came into the game with only two RBIs in the month.

"A bad pitch in a bad situation cost me," Lohse said. "I was not trying to throw a changeup in the middle of the plate against a guy like Ramirez."

Ramirez was at the plate with nobody on and one out in the fifth when the rain came.

After Volstad gave up three runs in the first, the Marlins cut into the lead in the bottom half on Mike Jacobs' two-out RBI double.

Skip Schumaker and Felipe Lopez opened the game with back-to-back singles. After Albert Pujols walked, Ryan Ludwick hit a three-run double to put the Cardinals up 3-0.

"We came out looking so good," manager Tony La Russa said. "Lohse made one mistake and our offense got shut down."

Game notes
Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter will miss his scheduled start Friday after an MRI revealed a muscle strain in the back of his right shoulder. The exam indicated no damage to the rotator cuff. ... Pujols has walked in 10 consecutive games. The team record of 16 was set by Jack Clark in 1987. ... The Marlins' rally from a three-run deficit matched their biggest comeback of the season. It was the fourth time this year that they fought back from a three-run hole.