Then, a lazy throwing error was made by Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (he has 20 errors) with two out in the Cardinals' eighth, and a team seeking a lifeline much of the season had one. Juan Encarnacion reached second on the play, and there followed in quick succession a game-tying single by Yadier Molina, who reached third on an outfield error when pitcher Armando Benitez didn't back up the play properly; a go-ahead single by Aaron Miles, and Ryan Ludwick's 11th home run.
The Cardinals are 60-62. They haven't been one game under .500 since April 26.
St. Louis has the best of the schedule, playing 23 of its last 40 games at home. The Cardinals are 31-27 at home and 29-35 on the road.
CARDINALS 5, MARLINS 2: St. Louis won for the ninth time in its last 12 games by rallying with four unearned runs in the eighth inning. Adam Wainwright wasn't as sharp as he had been recently, but he held Florida to two runs over six innings. And then the Cardinals bullpen, flawless much of the season, reeled off three scoreless innings to get the win (Troy Percival) and the save (No. 24 by Jason Isringhausen).
NOTES AND QUOTES
--With 3B Scott Rolen needing an occasional day off to give his troublesome left shoulder a rest and with LF Chris Duncan in an awful strikeout binge, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made some slight lineup adjustments Tuesday. Rolen sat until the ninth inning when he came in for defense, and Duncan didn't start for one of the few times against a right-handed pitcher.
--LF Chris Duncan fanned as a pinch hitter Tuesday, giving him 13 strikeouts and two hits in his last 24 at-bats.
--1B Albert Pujols hit his fourth solo home run in the last four games. He has driven in a run in six consecutive games.
--RHP Troy Percival has three wins in relief. He hadn't had that many wins since 2002 with the Angels.
--Cardinals hitters were 5-for-10 with two outs in Tuesday's win.
--RHP Adam Wainwright is 4-2 with a 2.67 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break.
--LHP Mark Mulder (rotator cuff surgery in September 2006) made his second rehab start for Class A Palm Beach on Tuesday, tossing four strong innings. He allowed one unearned run, two hits and no walks while striking out three.