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Conley Can’t Contain Cards, Marlins Lose 9-4

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MIAMI (AP) — Carlos Martinez pulled into second base and began gesturing to his dugout. He swung his clasped hands triumphantly from ear to ear, made a chest-high flapping motion with both hands and raised his arms to the sky, a pitcher celebrating his own slugging .

The St. Louis ace hit a three-run double for his first hit of the year and later added an RBI single, more than compensating for the two homers he allowed to Marcell Ozuna and leading the Cardinals over the Miami Marlins 9-4 Monday for their season-best fourth consecutive win.

The Cardinals totaled 10 hits, and Martinez’s double was the biggest blow. He had been 0 for 11 this year.

“My teammates had confidence in me that I could hit,” he said. “They were celebrating with me.”

His RBIs were the No. 1 topic in the postgame clubhouse.

“Big situations — I like the way he didn’t try to do too much,” manager Mike Matheny said. “He’s a good athlete.”

Martinez (2-3) also pitched six innings and allowed three runs, all on Ozuna’s homers. He struck out seven and walked two.

“At times the sinker had too much movement, and that’s a good problem to have,” Matheny said. “He was very sharp.”

Miguel Socolovich pitched three innings to earn his first career save. He gave up Giancarlo Stanton’s 11th homer in the ninth, his third in two days.

Ozuna also has 11 homers. He limped off the field with a tight hamstring after flying out in the ninth but said he doesn’t think the issue is serious.

Matt Carpenter had a two-run triple for the Cardinals. Teammate Magneuris Sierra, called up Sunday from Class A Palm Beach, contributed two hits and scored twice.

By the fourth, Martinez had a 7-0 lead, a big change for the right-hander. The Cardinals had scored only seven runs while he was on the mound previously this year.

The Cardinals have outscored opponents 30-11 during the winning streak and have won seven consecutive road games since April 21.

Conley (2-3) allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, hiking his ERA to 7.53. He said the hits by Martinez were the toughest to stomach.

“I have to be able to get him out there,” Conley said. “Twice I threw him fastballs away, which in hindsight is probably the pitch he’s got the best shot at hitting. I know he can swing it a little bit. He’s a great athlete. I just had to be better.”

The Cardinals loaded the bases with two out in the second, and Martinez cleared them by pulling the first pitch down the left field line. He added an RBI single in the fourth.

“I was not trying to swing hard but to make good contact and put the ball in play,” said Martinez, who began the game with eight career RBIs.

TOSSED

Marlins manager Don Mattingly was ejected for arguing balls and strikes after Martinez struck out the side in the second. It was his second ejection this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: CF Dexter Fowler (right shoulder) was held out of the starting lineup for the fourth game in a row but is improving and might return during the series.

Marlins: INF Miguel Rojas (broken right thumb) is expected to be in a cast for a couple of months and may require surgery, putting his season in jeopardy. He’s batting .328 in a utility role. … 3B Martin Prado (strained right hamstring) was placed on the 10-day DL before the game and was scheduled to undergo an MRI. INF J.T. Riddle was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans.

RHP Wei-Yin Chen (tired arm) is expected to miss his turn for the second time in a row Friday, with RHP Jose Urena again taking his place, Mattingly said. … RHP Edinson Volquez (blister) is expected to come off the DL to start Saturday against Atlanta. … LHP Jeff Locke (shoulder), who has yet to pitch for the Marlins, began a rehab assignment with Class A Jupiter by pitching four scoreless innings Monday.

SELECTIVE SLUGGER

Stanton’s strong start this season is a reflection of improved patience at the plate, Mattingly said.

“He has been way more consistent this year than last year,” Mattingly said. “He seems to have more of a plan of what he wants to accomplish when he goes up there. I see him being more patient and getting better pitches to hit. That’s the key.”

UP NEXT

Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (2-3, 6.30) is scheduled to start Tuesday against RHP Dan Straily (1-3, 4.65). Wainwright faced Miami once last year and pitched a three-hit shutout.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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