3/27/2014 5:30 P.M. ET
Wacha sharp in final tuneup against Marlins
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Starter Brad Hand fired four scoreless innings and the Marlins used a five-run eighth to earn a 6-4 come-from-behind win over the Cardinals on Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium.
Down 4-1 after seven innings, the Marlins scored five times in the eighth -- three runs were charged to reliever David Aardsma. Ed Lucas and Taylor Harbin drew walks to help load the bases and knock out Aardsma, while Derek Dietrich plated two runs with a one-out single off Scott McGregor. Marcell Ozuna and Austin Nola followed with RBI singles to put the Marlins on top for good, as they swept the six-game Grapefruit League series with the Cards.
In all, there were three walks, a wild pitch and hit batsman in the decisive eighth as the Marlins sent 11 men to the plate. With two outs, Lucas was hit on the left hand by McGregor and exited the game. After immediately coming out of the game, Lucas had an X-ray, which showed a non-displaced fracture.
St. Louis earlier climbed out of a one-run deficit by scoring once in the sixth and three more times an inning later. Shane Robinson drove home the tying run with a two-out single that scored Stephen Piscotty. Piscotty was on base after his one-out double off Marlins reliever Anthony DeSclafani.
Things didn't go much better for DeSclafani in the seventh. After Pete Kozma walked and Jon Jay singled, Ed Easley drove in Kozma with a groundout. Daniel Descalso delivered an RBI double later in the inning to pad the lead. Descalso finished the spring with 11 RBIs, matching Matt Adams for the team lead.
Piscotty capped the seventh-inning scoring with a sacrifice fly.
Hand was solid before handing the game over to the 'pen. The left-hander allowed consecutive singles to start the second inning, but did not allow another hit during the 61-pitch outing. Hand, who has been in competition for the fifth spot in the rotation, walked one and struck out two.
Making his fifth and final spring start, Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts over five innings. He wasn't as efficient (81 pitches, 56 strikes) as he has been, but finishes the spring having issued only three walks in 20 1/3 innings. Wacha struck out 23 during that span.
"I was just trying to go out there and continue to work on all the pitches, and continue to work on the control and command of them," Wacha said. "I was pretty happy with it. It got a little away from me in the last inning, but overall, I was pretty happy with it."
Wacha's next start will come on Wednesday in the second game of the regular season.
The lone walk Wacha issued on Thursday did come back to sting. Dietrich drew it to open the fifth, moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a single, and scored the first run on a sacrifice fly by Brian Bogusevic.
Keith Butler, who is vying for the final spot in the Cardinals' bullpen, relieved Wacha in the sixth and struck out Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Randy Choate followed him in to finish the inning. Seth Maness, who has been knocked around this spring, stranded a runner at third in his one-inning appearance.
Up next: Now finished with their Grapefruit League season, the Cardinals will travel to Memphis on Friday for a 6:35 p.m. CT exhibition game against their Triple-A affiliate. Joe Kelly will start for the Cardinals on Friday against right-hander Zach Petrick, who projects to open the season in Memphis' rotation. Afterward, St. Louis will jet to Cincinnati to get ready for Monday's season opener.
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.