ST. LOUIS – The Florida Marlins have trailed in 11 of their 18 victories. Long balls from Gaby Sanchez and Mike Stanton helped them erase another couple of deficits.
Sanchez ended Kyle Lohse's 22-inning scoreless streak with his first grand slam. Stanton hit a tying homer in the fifth and then tripled and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
"These are the kind of games that show what type of team you are," Stanton said. "We're definitely showing we're a different team from the previous year."
Sanchez's fourth homer of the season was Florida's major league-leading third grand slam of the year. Edward Mujica (3-1) allowed a walk in two scoreless innings and Leo Nunez finished for his 10th save in 10 tries after the Cardinals put two men on in the ninth.
The Marlins improved to 18-9 — the franchise's best start — and are tied with the Phillies for the NL East lead.
Lance Berkman homered and had four RBIs for the Cardinals, who were limited to one hit and four walks the last five innings against the Florida bullpen.
"If we're in a close game in the fifth or sixth inning," said manager Edwin Rodriguez, "we know we have a very good chance."
Berkman was named NL player of the week for the second time this season earlier Monday, both off big showings on the road. He's batting .406 with nine homers and 27 RBIs.
"Heck, I'd like to win it every week," Berkman said. "You try to ride the hot streaks as long as you can ride them and hope that the down times don't last too long."
Stanton hit his second career triple on a hooking liner that glanced off center fielder Colby Rasmus' glove leading off the eighth against Mitchell Boggs (0-2) and scored easily on Gregg Dobbs' sacrifice fly. Lacking a double for the cycle, Stanton struck out against Miguel Batista with two men on to end the ninth.
The Marlins' previous 14 runs the last two games were all scored off homers.
"We're getting good pitches and guys aren't missing them," Sanchez said. "I don't think this team by any means has a power problem."
Lohse allowed three earned runs in 31 1-3 innings in winning his previous four starts, and the streak was the majors' longest this season. He needed only 17 pitches to sail through two innings and led 2-0 off RBI singles from Berkman and Yadier Molina in the first before running into trouble on a rally begun on pitcher Chris Volstad's one-out single.
Hanley Ramirez walked with two outs to load the bases for Sanchez, who belted a 2-2 delivery an estimated 422 feet off the back of the wall in the visitor's bullpen in left for his fourth homer.
Lohse was nailed near his right shin bone the next at-bat by Stanton's liner, which bounced away for an infield hit. While being tended to by trainers, Lohse was motivated to stay in the game after hearing derogatory comments from a player in the Marlins' dugout.
"Somebody said something, something you don't say when someone just gets hit by a line drive," Lohse said. "It kind of heated me up, I wanted to stay out there after that.
"Guys lose their minds sometimes and think it's funny when someone gets drilled."
The Cardinals regained the lead on Berkman's three-run homer in the bottom of the third, his ninth overall and first at home. Berkman is batting .450 at home with two homers and seven RBIs, and .375 with eight homers and 20 RBIs on the road.
Stanton homered for the second straight game, re-tying it in the fifth with a liner just inside the left-field foul pole of an 0-2 changeup.
"I missed my spot by about three feet," Lohse said. "He didn't miss it."
Volstad struck out none for the first time since Aug. 28, 2009, a span of 37 starts. He totaled 14 strikeouts his first four outings this year.
Ryan Theriot's infield hit, aided by Ramirez' double-pump from short, put runners at the corners with two outs before Rasmus grounded out.
Notes: Lohse allowed only one homer his first five starts. ... 3B Daniel Descalso and Pujols each made a nice play on Ramirez' chopper leading off the fifth, Descalso charging to glove it and then Pujols scooping it up on one bounce. ... Matt Holliday grounded into the Cardinals' 39th double play, by far the most in the majors, in the fifth. ... Volstad had two starts without a strikeout in 2009, one against St. Louis. ... The Marlins are 14-4 in Volstad's last 18 starts. ... Cardinals SS Theriot committed his eighth error, botching a grounder in the first. He entered the game tied for the most in the majors.