MIAMI — Yadier Molina hit a bases-loaded double during a three-run first inning, Daniel Ponce de Leon and the St. Louis bullpen protected the lead, and the Cardinals beat the Miami Marlins 4-1 Monday night.
Molina drove in two runs with his 382nd double, moving past Johnny Bench for eighth place on the career list among catchers.
Ponce de Leon (1-0) allowed one run and three hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out three, walked one and hit Starling Marte twice.
St. Louis got a perfect sixth from Jordan Hicks and two scoreless innings from Giovanni Gallegos. Alex Reyes closed it with a scoreless ninth for his first save.
The performance by Cardinals pitchers helped overcome a difficult weekend in Cincinnati, where they allowed 27 runs in losing two of three games.
Miami starter Trevor Rogers (0-1) walked four batters in the first, propelling St. Louis to its early advantage. Rogers allowed two hits, struck out six and didn’t walk another batter after the first. He went four innings.
Tommy Edman led off the St. Louis fifth with a home run against John Curtiss.
The Marlins scored on Marte’s sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Cardinals: (LHP) Kwang Hyun Kim (back stiffness) will throw in a game against minor leaguers Tuesday at the club’s spring training facility in Jupiter, Fla. Manager Mike Shildt said Kim is expected to throw approximately 75 pitches.
Marlins: OF-IF Garrett Cooper (reaction to second COVID-19 vaccine) was placed on the injured list. RHP Jordan Holloway will take Cooper’s spot on the roster. … The club also placed RHP Elieser Hernandez (right bicep inflammation) on the 10-day injured list and recalled RHP Nick Neidert.
Cardinals: RHP (John Gant, 0-3, 2.40 in 2020) will start the middle game of the series on Tuesday.
Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara (0-0, 0.00) will make his second start Tuesday after he pitched six scoreless innings in the season opener April 1.
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