ST. LOUIS - This time, Lance Lynn avoided the crooked number.
Burned by four- and five-run rallies in his last two starts against Houston and the Los Angeles Angels, respectively, Lynn minimized damage in seven solid innings on Sunday as St. Louis completed a three-game sweep of Miami with a 3-2 victory at sold-out Busch Stadium.
Lynn (11-3) scattered seven hits, walked one and struck out seven as he outpitched 20-year-old Jose Fernandez, the Marlins' only All-Star. Lynn improved his record to 29-11 since the start of the 2012 season, tying Detroit's Max Scherzer for the most wins in the majors over that span.
"You're going to have times where every time you throw a pitch, every time they hit it, it's a hit," Lynn said. "That's kind of what the feeling was last time, but it's not always going to be like that.
"Today, I was just trying to stay within myself, throw strikes and let my defense do the work. Fortunately, I was able to do that."
Trevor Rosenthal worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, retiring pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs on a bouncer to second. Pitching for the fourth straight game, Edward Mujica retired the side in the ninth for his 23rd save.
Fernandez (5-5) gave up only four hits and struck out five in six innings, but walked a season-high four and hit two. His control problems and his teammates' failure to quickly wrap up a rundown doomed him during a two-run third inning.
After Fernandez plunked Matt Carpenter to start the inning, Carlos Beltran laid down a perfect bunt for a single. Matt Holliday drew a walk to fill the bases, and Allen Craig lofted a sacrifice fly to right field.
With Holliday running from first on a full-count pitch, David Freese struck out. Jeff Mathis' throw to second beat Holliday easily, but he got into a rundown and kept it going long enough for Beltran to head home. First baseman Logan Morrison's throw to the plate thudded off Mathis' glove and hit the dirt as Beltran slid around the catcher for a steal.
According to Beltran, it was an instance where a left-handed first baseman is at a disadvantage.
"He has to make a little turn and then throw home when I break," Beltran said. "When the ball is thrown to first base, I felt that was the perfect moment to go. I was able to slide and make it."
Beltran's legs, once perhaps his best asset in his days as a five-tool star for the Kansas City Royals, also denied Miami a leadoff hit in the ninth. He raced toward the right-field foul line and made a sprawling catch on Mathis' looping fly ball.
"My knees feel good, man," said Beltran, who's battled knee problems in recent years. "I don't think about them. I just play."
Holliday accounted for the Cardinals' other run with a 420-foot homer to center in the first, his 12th of the year.
Adeiny Hechavarria knocked in a run in the second for Miami (32-55) with a single. Mathis' two-out bunt single in the fourth cut the deficit to a run, but St. Louis (53-34) held on from there for its first home sweep.
"I saw a lot of good things from our team in this series," Morrison said. "But playing against a team like St. Louis, you have to battle every single pitch. I felt like we gave too many pitches away."
NOTES: Miami completed its trade of RHP Ricky Nolasco to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night for three minor league RHPs -- Steven Ames, Angel Sanchez and Josh Wall. Kevin Slowey will move into Nolasco's spot in the rotation on Monday night when the Marlins start a three-game series with visiting Atlanta. ... Miami also recalled RHP Chris Hatcher, who was leading the Pacific Coast League with 24 saves for New Orleans, and transferred INF Chris Valaika to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Ames and Wall on the 40-man roster. ... St. Louis C Yadier Molina's right knee was diagnosed as being inflamed, but Molina doesn't think he'll have to hit the disabled list. He's hoping to play again on Tuesday night when Houston comes to town.
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