Marlins hold off Cardinals 8-7

Florida Marlins' Hanley Ramirez scores from third as St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina chases down a wild throw from starting pitcher Chris Carpenter in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 4, 2011 in St. Louis.

Florida Marlins' Hanley Ramirez scores from third as St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina chases down a wild throw from starting pitcher Chris Carpenter in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 4, 2011 in St. Louis. Photo by The Associated Press.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — In all his years with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chris Carpenter has never had a dry spell like this.

The 36-year-old Carpenter gutted out six innings and got a no-decision in an 8-7 loss to the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night, leaving him at 0-2 through seven starts this season. Before this year, in his six healthy seasons with St. Louis, Carpenter was 12-3 in the opening month.

“You don’t deserve to win when you pitch like I did tonight,” Carpenter said. “So that doesn’t really matter, does it?”

Cardinals star Albert Pujols is 0 for 4 with the bases loaded after grounding into a force play against Brian Sanches with the game tied in the sixth inning. That cost Carpenter a chance at his first victory despite one of his shakier efforts.

Carpenter gave up six runs, four earned, and 10 hits. A 16-game winner last year, he easily could have five victories this season.

“Obviously it’s not what I’m looking for,” he said. “There’s all kinds of things I could have done better.”

Carpenter’s only clean inning against the Marlins was his last, when he retired the top of the order.

Mike Stanton hit a tiebreaking two-run drive in the ninth inning for his third homer in four games for Florida, which survived blowing a four-run cushion and secured at least a split in all five of its road sets. Gaby Sanchez had two hits and a bases-loaded walk, improving to 8 for 14 in the series.

The Marlins will send ace Josh Johnson to the mound against Jake Westbrook for Thursday’s finale of the four-game series.

Leo Nunez gave up Jon Jay’s second pinch-hit homer of the season in the ninth, but got Matt Holliday to ground into a game-ending double play for his 11th save in 11 chances. Holliday had two hits and an RBI and leads the NL with a .413 average.

Emilio Bonifacio and Omar Infante had three hits apiece after switching places in the Florida order, Bonifacio moving up to second and Infante down to seventh because of a 4-for-30 slump.

Eduardo Sanchez (1-1) had Hanley Ramirez down 0-2 before walking him on a full count to start the ninth. With one out, Stanton hit his fifth homer of the season to straightaway center.

Mike Dunn (2-1) got six straight outs in the seventh and eighth for the Marlins, whose 19-10 start is the best in franchise history.

The Cardinals committed a season-worst four errors — all in the first four innings — with two each by Carpenter and catcher Yadier Molina. Both had a miscue in the Marlins’ two-run first, leading to an unearned run, and two runs scored on Molina’s wild throw to first on a home-to-first double-play attempt on Stanton’s grounder during Florida’s four-run third.

Bonifacio clipped Molina as he released the throw. Carpenter and Ramirez had a nasty exchange after Ramirez flied out to end the fourth, but Carpenter said after the game it was a misunderstanding.

“I thought he went way out of his way to get Yaddy,” Carpenter said of Bonifacio. “I didn’t see it live as it looks on video, it wasn’t anything cheap. Hanley was staring me down, for what I don’t know, and I told him to stop looking at me.”

Molina limped away after getting clipped, but said it had been a clean play.

“Yeah, it was a tough night for us, but it’s part of the game,” Molina said. “We tried to be aggressive and sometimes you got to make the plays and sometimes you don’t.”

Bonifacio and Infante were a combined 6 for 6 with an RBI over the first five innings. Bonifacio is 12 for 27 over his last seven games and is batting .350.

Marlins starter Javier Vazquez couldn’t hold a 6-2 third-inning lead, departing after 5 2-3 innings. He’s allowed at least one first-inning run in all six starts.

NOTES: Cardinals RHP Kyle Lohse is on track to make his next start, moving past a bruised right shin from getting struck by a liner on Monday. ... Marlins starting pitchers are 11-4, the fewest losses in the majors. ... Florida was 0 for 2 with the bases loaded but is batting .500 (18 for 36) in that situation with a major league-best three grand slams. ... RF Stanton nearly made a spectacular catch on Allen Craig’s foul liner in the fifth, the ball glancing off his glove as he tumbled into the stands. Stanton said he spilled a fan’s beer.

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