MIAMI (AP) -- Carlos Delgado and the Marlins caught a break to
pull off a comeback that reminded manager Jack McKeon of Florida's
2003 World Series championship season.
Delgado hit a two-run triple in the eighth inning, and Florida
recovered after blowing an early lead to beat the St. Louis
Cardinals 7-6 on Tuesday night.The Marlins (70-62) tied Philadelphia for the NL wild-card lead
after the Phillies' 6-4 loss to the Mets. Florida is a half-game
ahead of New York and Houston (both 69-62)."This one looked a lot like '03 when we kept pulling games
out," McKeon said. "We had lost our touch at that, maybe we're
getting it back again.Florida opened an early four-run lead after Miguel Cabrera's
three-run homer in the third, but fell behind for the first time
when Mark Grudzielanek's run-scoring groundout put the Cardinals
ahead 5-4 in the eighth.Luis Castillo bunted for a leadoff single to begin the bottom of
the inning, Florida's first hit off Matt Morris (14-6) since
Cabrera's 28th homer with no outs in the third.Cabrera singled to advance Castillo to third and chase Morris.
Ray King relieved and got ahead in the count 0-2 on Delgado before
the Marlins slugger drove a liner beyond right fielder Larry Walker
that rolled to the wall in right-center."Not to run excuses out, but I had it off the bat, lost it in
the lights, it came out of the lights, and it was too late,"
Walker said. "Simple as that."Juan Encarnacion hit a sacrifice fly off Julian Tavarez to score
pinch-runner Chris Aguila.Guillermo Mota (2-2) pitched two innings for the win. Todd Jones
allowed pinch-hitter John Mabry's home run in the ninth before
earning his 32nd save in 34 chances."It's a good feeling," Delgado said. "This is why I'm here. I
take a lot of pride in getting big hits and driving in big runs."Grudzielanek homered and had four RBI for the NL
Central-leading Cardinals."Yeah, we're leading the division by 15 games, but we go out
there and play every game just like it's the last," Grudzielanek
said.Matt Treanor hit an RBI single in the second, and Cabrera made
it 4-0 in the third as the Marlins had three straight hits off
Morris in both innings."It was down and in and he just dropped the head on it,"
Morris said of the pitch he threw to Cabrera, which ended up
landing in the third row of the upper deck -- a 433-foot shot."I didn't see it," McKeon said. "I saw a guy in the upper
deck trying to catch it."The Cardinals starter settled down after that, allowing just one
runner over the next four innings.John Rodriguez made it 4-1 with an RBI grounder in the fourth,
and Grudzielanek tied it with a three-run drive in the sixth."That was painful," said Valdez, who remained squatted beside
the mound as Grudzielanek circled the bases. "It was one bad
pitch. More than anything it was the selection of the pitch. It was
down and away. I thought it was a pretty good breaking ball."Albert Pujols drew his second walk of the game with one out in
the eighth. Pujols, 0-for-7 to that point in the series, got a huge
jump and easily stole second ahead of Treanor's throw. Jim Edmonds
walked and Pujols got his second steal of the inning on the front
end of a double steal, prompting Mota to intentionally walk
Rodriguez to load the bases.Grudzielanek hit a grounder to shortstop Alex Gonzalez, whose
only option was to throw to third to force Edmonds while Pujols
scored the go-ahead run.
Morris needed just 14 pitches to get through the sixth and
seventh, including five pitches to retire the side in the sixth.
... Cabrera and Delgado are the only Marlins who have homered since
Aug. 5. ... Treanor has started 17 of 24 games since Aug. 6.