Josh Johnson had by far his strongest outing of the spring, working six innings to help the Florida Marlins snap a nine-game spring losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.
Lance Berkman had a mostly uneventful stint in right field, fielding a pair of hits on back-to-back RBI singles by Hanley Ramirez and Gaby Sanchez in the third, but had no other chances. The 35-year-old Berkman is set to be a full-time outfielder for the first time since 2004, and had been limited to DH duty since March 1 due to elbow soreness.
Sanchez had three hits and two RBIs and Ramirez had three hits and an RBI for Florida, which was outscored 71-17 during the slump. Manager Edwin Rodriguez altered his lineup card about three hours before gametime, and Sanchez was among several starters plugged in.
The move came a day after owner Jeffrey Loria criticized the team's 5-13 start.
Colby Rasmus hit his second homer of the spring, and second in four at-bats, for the Cardinals.
Jake Westbrook gave up four runs on nine hits in five innings for St. Louis. Westbrook struggled in the third when Florida had four singles with RBIs by Ramirez and Sanchez. Ramirez doubled and Sanchez drove him in on consecutive two-out at-bats in the fifth.
The Marlins committed two errors in the second, the latter on Ramirez's high throw from short to first on Gerald Laird's two-out grounder that permitted the tying run to score. Ramirez entered the game with five errors, tied for the most at any position this spring.
Last year, Ramirez committed 16 errors. He also lost control of his bat striking out in the first, the bat ending up in the far end of the Marlins' dugout.
Notes: Cardinals managers bridging the gap to 1980, La Russa, Joe Torre and Whitey Herzog, were in the house. Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst finished the '90 season after Herzog resigned, is a special assistant to the Cardinals GM. ... The Cardinals wore novelty green hats and green jerseys on St. Patrick's Day. ... Matt Holliday had an RBI double in the seventh and is 10 for 22 during an eight-game hitting streak.