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FLA@STL: Berkman belts a three-run blast in the third

ST. LOUIS -- There weren't many answers to be had for the Cardinals after the first game of the homestand on Monday night at Busch Stadium.

Right-hander Kyle Lohse was undone by two home runs, while an offense that scored five runs in the first three innings went dormant, as the Cards lost, 6-5, to the Marlins.

"This was one of those games where you just kind of look at it and say they beat us and try to come back tomorrow and win," right fielder Lance Berkman said. "I don't think there's too much analysis that needs to take place. There wasn't necessarily a turning point. They swung the bats pretty well and so did we, and they just got one more run than we did."

The Cardinals fell to 16-13 on the season, and 6-7 at home.

"For nine innings, we made a lot of good pitches, but we made a couple mistakes and ended up being big run producers for them," manager Tony La Russa said. "They didn't miss the couple mistakes. We had some mistakes that we didn't do as much with."

The Cardinals scored twice with two outs in the first inning, with Berkman knocking an RBI single to center field and catcher Yadier Molina following with an RBI single up the middle.

That gave Lohse an early cushion. The right-hander entered the game with a 19 1/3-inning scoreless streak and extended that to 22 frames before Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez drilled a two-out grand slam into the bullpen in left field to give Florida a 4-2 lead in the top of the third inning.

The Sanchez grand slam, which was the first of his career, came on the 30th pitch of the inning for Lohse, who breezed through the first two innings with just 17 pitches.

"What hurt me that inning was the walks," he said. "I was just missing with a couple pitches, walking guys and then trying to go inside with a fastball and left it out."

What also hurt Lohse was a ball off the bat of right fielder Mike Stanton, the next batter after Sanchez, that hit off Lohse's right shin for an infield single.

"It's the top part of the shin, just off the bone," he said. "It missed the bone, so I guess I'm kind of lucky. It will be all right. It's going to be sore."

The Cardinals answered in the bottom half as center fielder Colby Rasmus led off with a bunt single, left fielder Matt Holiday singled with one out and then Berkman pounded a three-run home run into the bullpen in right field for his ninth homer of the season and a 5-4 lead.

"Both pitches I threw him came back to the middle of the plate, and he's not going to miss them," Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad said. "It seems like he's recognizing things pretty quickly up there and making adjustments within the at-bats. You just have to execute pitches when he comes up."

In his previous 10 games, Berkman hit .526 (20 hits in 38 at-bats) with two home runs, 10 RBIs and nine runs scored. He was honored as the National League Player of the Week for the second time this season, and sixth time in his career, earlier in the day.

"All those things are nice to have, but bottom line: We want to win games," Berkman said. "Individual honors are great. I'm happy. I'd like to win it every week. But I think really just trying to help the team win is more important, whether you get selected for that or not."

The Marlins tied the score at 5 in the fifth on a solo home run to left field by Stanton.

Lohse got through 102 pitches in six innings before the bullpen took over in the seventh. He allowed five runs (all earned) on six hits over his six innings, with three walks and two strikeouts.

"I give Kyle all the credit," La Russa said. "He got blasted pretty well and he gave us some innings. He just had that one inning where bases loaded and he made a pitch and the guy hit it out of the park. He could have limped off the field when he got blasted, and he stayed in there."

Stanton led off the eighth inning with a line-drive triple to right-center off Mitchell Boggs and scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to right field by third baseman Greg Dobbs.

The Cardinals were able to get runners on first and third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth off Marlins closer Leo Nunez, but Rasmus grounded out to second to end the game. Comments