St. Louis, MO – Rafael Furcal hit a game-winning, bases- loaded single with two down in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday, lifting the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over the Marlins in the rubber match of a three-game series.
The Cardinals loaded the bases twice in the inning, with Tony Cruz delivering a sacrifice fly on the first occasion. Daniel Descalso then worked a 10-pitch walk before Furcal singled through the left side of the infield off of Heath Bell (2-5) to push across the tying and go-ahead runs.
"I've let the whole organization down...I had the worst first half I've ever had and I think all my teammates can definitely blame me," said Bell, who suffered his sixth blown save of the season.
Mitchell Boggs (2-1) earned the win, striking out Donovan Solano with the bases loaded to end the top of the ninth.
"(The guys) are just relentless," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "They just keep fighting and coming back. It was nice to do this at home."
Furcal also had an RBI single in the fifth for St. Louis, which enters the All-Star break with a 46-40 mark, good for third place in the National League Central.
Earlier, Austin Kearns gave Miami a 4-2 lead with a three-run homer in the seventh inning. Hanley Ramirez scored a run in the first for the Marlins, who hold a 41-44 record at the break.
Cardinals rookie Joe Kelly left the game with the lead, giving up one unearned run over six innings, but the bullpen failed to maintain the advantage.
Maikel Cleto allowed a one-out double to Omar Infante, then walked John Buck before Kearns belted a slider from Victor Marte over the fence in left- center for a 4-2 lead.
Kearns was batting for Anibal Sanchez, who allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. He struck out three and did not issue a walk.
Ramirez gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead when he stole third and came home on Cruz's wide throw into left field. The catcher atoned, doubling and scoring on Furcal's base hit in the fifth, then adding an RBI in the final frame.
The sac fly to left came after a single by Allen Craig, a ground-rule double by Matt Carpenter and a walk to David Freese.
Craig also doubled and scored on a single by Skip Schumaker to tie the game in the second inning.
The teams completed their season series on Sunday, with the Cardinals winning five of seven...Kelly, 24, hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his six starts this season...Greg Dobbs and Logan Morrison both extended their hit streak to 11 games for the Marlins.