Marco Gonzales and Jhonny Peralta provide heroics in 7-1 victory over Marlins


Marco Gonzales demonstrated the ability to pitch efficiently, work out of jams and contribute to victories in small aspects of the game, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-1 triumph over the Miami Marlins in his third Spring Training start on Tuesday.

The southpaw opened the game by retiring his first six batters, highlighted by a first-inning strikeout of Marlins’ right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. Gonzales showed efficiency early on, needing only 10 pitches through his first two frames. 

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With the help of some small ball tactics, the Cardinals produced the game’s first run in the third inning. Matt Carpenter improved his Spring batting average to .278 with a leadoff single, using a walk from Jason Heyward to advance to scoring position before an RBI groundout from Matt Adams.

Gonzales ran into a small jam in the bottom of the third, but limited the damage. Marlins’ left fielder Don Kelly prompted the rally with a double to left field, scoring on a two-out single from Dee Gordon to tie the game. Miami eventually loaded the bases with two outs, but Gonzales struck out Jeff Baker on three swinging strikes to end the threat.

Jhonny Peralta collected his second single of the day to start the top of the fourth inning, advancing to scoring position on a stolen base. The early preseason slumps of Kolten Wong and Peter Bourjos continued and led to two quick outs, but Gonzales surprised offensively from the ninth spot and drove in the Cardinals’ go-ahead run with his first hit this Spring.

More offense followed the 23 year-old’s single, as St. Louis’s next three runners reached base. Matt Holliday drove in two more runs with a bases loaded single, giving the Cardinals a three-run lead before a fly out from Adams ended the rally.

While the fourth inning provided most of the game’s offensive fireworks, the Cardinals cushioned their lead with a few insurance runs in later innings. A fifth inning home run from Peralta aided him to a three-hit effort, while in-game substitutes Scott Moore and Tony Cruz also delivered RBI hits for St. Louis.

Gonzales made another strong case for the fifth rotation spot, as he reduced his Spring ERA to 0.84, collected his third win of March and finished the outing with one earned run over 4.2 innings. The Cardinals used five other pitchers in the game, topped off by a scoreless ninth inning from left-handed specialist Kevin Siegrist.

With Tuesday’s victory, St. Louis improves to 7-5-1 in Spring Training and collects their third win against the Marlins within the past month. The Cardinals have an off-day tomorrow, but Jaime Garcia is expected to take the mound at Roger Dean Stadium in the team’s next game on Thursday at 12:05 p.m. CT against the New York Mets.