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FLA@STL: Jay takes Nunez deep in the ninth

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals rookie reliever Eduardo Sanchez struck out Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton to close out Tuesday's game. But Stanton got some revenge on Wednesday night.

Stanton blasted a two-run home run in the ninth inning to give the Marlins an 8-7 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

"We created some rough moments for ourselves, no doubt about it," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "If you watch the game closely, we had some really tough breaks go against us. It's a disappointing loss."

The Cards, who committed a season-high four errors, fell to 17-14, and 7-8 at home, with their second loss to Florida in three nights. They close out the four-game series with the Marlins (19-10) on Thursday afternoon.

"We did a lot to get back in that game and overcame a lot of stuff," La Russa said. "Overcame some of the stuff that we created for ourselves and then we definitely caught a couple really tough breaks that made it even tougher."

The Cardinals and Marlins had some sloppy play in the first inning, as both teams scored twice.

Emilio Bonifacio tripled down the right-field line and scored on an RBI single by Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez stole second base, took third on an error by catcher Yadier Molina and scored when Chris Carpenter mishandled a slow roller by Gaby Sanchez with a poor toss to home.

"I reached down to grab it and my foot slipped just a touch when I grabbed it, and I just had nothing on it," Carpenter said. "I wasn't planted with my front foot, and I went to flip it and there was nothing there and it didn't get to Yadi."

The Cardinals got back-to-back two-out singles from Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, and both scored when Lance Berkman's fly ball down the left-field line was dropped by Bonifacio.

St. Louis ran into trouble again in the third when Sanchez drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-2. A throwing error by Molina allowed two more runs to score, and then a two-out broken-bat single by Omar Infante plated the fourth run of the inning and gave Florida a 6-2 lead.

Carpenter and Molina, the three-time Gold Glove Award winner, each committed two errors. It was the first time in Carpenter's career he has done that, and the second time for Molina.

The Cardinals answered with two runs in the bottom of the third to make it 6-4, on an RBI single by Holliday and a sacrifice fly by Berkman. Then St. Louis tied the score with two more runs in the sixth, with Daniel Descalso bringing home a run with a fielder's choice and Ryan Theriot coming through with a two-out RBI single to right.

The two runs in the sixth gave Carpenter, who has yet to earn a win this season, his fifth no-decision in seven starts. The 35-year-old right-hander allowed six runs (four earned) on 10 hits over six innings, with four strikeouts and three walks among his 110 pitches.

"I need to do a better job of making better pitches when I get ahead in counts," Carpenter said. "There were all kinds of things tonight I could have done better. Unfortunately, I didn't pitch well enough to give our team a chance to win."

Sanchez (1-1) entered the game in the ninth inning and walked the first batter he faced, Ramirez. After a strikeout, his 1-0 offering to Stanton was deposited 431 feet away into the left-center-field bleachers for the Marlins outfielder's fifth home run of the season.

Stanton struck out on three sliders on Tuesday. He homered on a 93-mph fastball on Wednesday.

"People can say he should have done what he did last night to get him out, but at the same time, he had been doing it the whole inning," Stanton said. "Someone is going to expect it."

The Cardinals made the bottom of the ninth interesting against Marlins closer Leo Nunez.

Jon Jay hit a pinch-hit solo home run to right field with one out, and Pujols walked to get the tying run on base. But then Holliday grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game, as Nunez recorded his 11th save in as many chances.

"If you watch how we played this month and last month, we battled," Jay said. "That's a good sign for our team. It's tough to swallow a loss like tonight, but I think it's something that's going to help us down the road. We still have a long way to go. If we can cut down some of these mistakes, I think we're going to be just fine."

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