Vazquez helps Marlins beat Cardinals 4-2

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Javier Vazquez and the Florida Marlins are gaining momentum in the final days of spring training.

Vazquez pitched 6 2-3 innings of five-hit ball and the Marlins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 on Tuesday to extend their unbeaten streak to 10 games.

Florida, which had a nine-game slide earlier in camp, hasn’t lost since March 18. It has nine wins and a tie in its last 10 games.

“It is important so that we can take that into the season,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez, whose team is 15-14-1 going into its final spring game Wednesday against the New York Mets.

“The main guys seem like they’re ready. We’re very happy with the way everything went.”

Vazquez allowed one run, struck out four and walked one. The right-hander, who went 1-1 with a 4.57 ERA in five spring starts, will make his season debut Sunday against the Mets.

Vazquez’s velocity was down last year during a disappointing season with the New York Yankees. That hasn’t been an issue so far with the Marlins.

“The last few starts, I thought the life on my fastball was there,” said Vazquez, who has ranged from 89-91 mph this spring. “I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about the location and the life on my pitches and right now my pitches have pretty good life.”

Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia struck out seven over six sparkling innings in his best start of the spring. He gave up one run and three hits.

Garcia, St. Louis’ No. 3 starter, came into the game with a 7.94 ERA.

Colby Rasmus homered in the first inning for the Cardinals.

The Marlins scored their first run in the fourth inning when Hanley Ramirez bounced into a double play after the first two batters singled. Ramirez bounced into two double plays in the game.

Florida added three more runs in the eighth inning. Scott Cousins had an RBI double and Aaron Mathews hit a sacrifice fly.

NOTES: The Marlins optioned RHP Burke Badenhop to Triple-A New Orleans after the game. ... OF Cousins won the Marlins’ final bench spot over Dewayne Wise, who was reassigned to minor league camp. Wise, who has been bothered the last 10 days by a sore big toe on his left foot, planned to wait a day or two before deciding whether to accept the assignment.

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