JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals employed the same formula they used to win 100 games last season — good starting pitching, enough timely hitting and Trevor Rosenthal closing out the game — to defeat the Miami Marlins 3-0 on Wednesday in both teams’ final game at the spring training complex they share.READ MORE: Jury Selection Process Set To Resume In Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz Penalty Trial
Michael Wacha ended a tough spring with by far his best outing, tossing five shutout innings of two-hit ball.
“This was definitely a step in the right direction,” said Wacha, who went 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA last year. “I know how important it is to build off today, but everything felt in sync and ready to go.”
Rosenthal struck out two as part of a perfect ninth to record his first save of the spring.
Matt Holliday smacked a two-run double into the left-center field gap off Edwin Jackson with two outs in the fifth, giving St. Louis a 3-0 lead. Holiday has a single, double, home run and walk over his last five plate appearances.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the fourth with Yadier Molina’s first RBI of the spring, a two-out single punched off the glove of diving Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon and into right field.
The run came off Marlins closer A.J. Ramos, who allowed two hits, walked two more batters and tossed a wild pitch before being lifted for reliever Cody Ege with two outs and the bases loaded.
“He was a little erratic with control, but for the most part the hits he gave up were something you can’t really control,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
St. Louis reliever Jordan Walden didn’t pass his final test of the spring. After working a scoreless sixth inning, Walden returned to the dugout and informed manager Mike Matheny that the shoulder soreness that plagued him late in spring and forced him to miss most of last season was once again present. “Something didn’t feel right and we’re going to have to get him looked at again, so it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to make our (opening day) roster,” Matheny said. A Walden absence opens a spot for Rule 5 selection Matt Bowman to start the season in the Cardinals’ bullpen.
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Mattingly announced that Adam Conley will start the third game of the season, Tom Koehler the fourth and Jarred Cosart the fifth.
Cardinals: Wacha entered the game having allowed eight earned runs in 12 2/3 innings. He was dialed in on Wednesday, throwing 35 of 55 pitches for strikes.
Marlins: Destined for Miami’s bullpen, David Phelps made the most of what could be his final start of the year, working three perfect innings while striking out six.
Cardinals: Catcher Brayan Pena dealt with some minor ailments during the spring, but is physically ready to begin the season. “Pena came in great today and could have started,” Matheny said.
Marlins: Aside from losing reliever Carter Capps to a season-ending elbow injury, Miami’s trainer’s room has been reasonably quiet.
“We’re, knock on wood, fairly healthy walking out of here so our injury report hasn’t been stacking up every day or anything like that — it’s been pretty minimal,” Mattingly said.
Cardinals: St. Louis heads to Tampa to play the New York Yankees on Thursday in the Cardinals’ final Grapefruit League game. Mike Leake gets the ball for the Cardinals against Michael Pineda.
Marlins: Miami is off on Thursday. Jose Fernandez will make his final spring start on Friday when the Marlins begin a two-game exhibition series at Marlins Park against the Yankees.MORE NEWS: Miami Air Traffic Controller Narciso Torres Identified As Person Who Died In Haulover Plane Crash
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