Cardinals 4, Marlins 2

Thursday, August 31st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI-Scoring less than three runs a game, the Florida Marlins don't expect to win very often.

Especially against the St. Louis Cardinals' power-packed lineup.

Will Clark had a home run and an RBI double, and Jim Edmonds snapped an 0-for-21 slump with a pair of hits as the Cardinals beat the Marlins 4-2 Wednesday night.

"Those guys get paid a lot of money to do what they do, and they do this a lot," said Marlins manager John Boles, whose club scored just seven runs in the three-game series.

The Cardinals improved to 16-8 with Clark starting at first base, including 5-1 on this road trip. More importantly, St. Louis won its sixth straight series and extended its NL Central lead to 8 1/2 games over the Cincinnati Reds, who lost to Atlanta.

"This was a big win for us," said Clark, who is hitting .394 with 19 RBIs in 26 games since being acquired from Baltimore. "It was a good day. The Reds lost, we have an 8 1/2 -game lead and now we have an off day."

Edmonds, who ended his slump with a single in the sixth, got a base hit to lead off the ninth with the game tied at 2. Clark followed with a double to right-center, scoring Edmonds on the hit-and-run play from first.

"We had the right guy at the plate," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "And we had good legs on Edmonds."

Clark moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on Ray Lankford's single off Antonio Alfonseca (4-6).

"You've got to score more than two runs," Boles said. "That's the one thing we've got to work out _ scoring runs. It's always difficult to watch those close games, but especially when they have the thunder they have. You're walking on eggshells the whole time with the lineup they have."

Dave Veres pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 29 chances. Matt Morris (2-3) pitched the eighth for the win.

The Marlins _ who lost their fourth consecutive series and have dropped eight of 11 games _ took a 1-0 lead in the first when Andy Fox scored from second on Preston Wilson's fielder's choice.

St. Louis went ahead 2-1 with back-to-back home runs to lead off the second. Clark hit his eighth of the season on a 2-0 pitch from Reid Cornelius. Craig Paquette followed two pitches later with his 10th.

Cornelius kept the Cardinals quiet after the homers. He retired 15 of the next 18 batters before getting pulled for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning.

Cornelius allowed four hits in six innings en route to his eighth no-decision.

"It's just one of those things you can't explain. We just haven't been scoring runs here lately," Cornelius said.

Florida has scored just 30 runs in 11 games.

The Marlins tied the game in the sixth. Cliff Floyd led off with a double and scored on Mark Smith's broken-bat single to right. Florida loaded the bases with two outs, but pinch-hitter Kevin Millar struck out looking.

"I feel the strain as the manager and I'm not the one going out there on that little hill," Boles said. "If we score runs, we're in business. That's the last piece of the puzzle."

Notes:@ Marlins OF Henry Rodriguez left the game in the fifth inning after experiencing dizziness. ... Florida's Luis Castillo got his major league-leading 48th infield hit with a bunt single in the third. ... Wilson struck out twice, giving him 166 this season, 23 shy of Bobby Bonds' major league record set in 1970. ... St. Louis recorded back-to-back homers for the 14th time this season and first time since May 24 against the Marlins. ... Cornelius was charged with his league-leading fourth and fifth balks.