The St. Louis Cardinals played the field like Florida has all spring, while the Marlins finally played a game without booting a ball.
Florida scored five unearned runs off six errors by St. Louis, Ricky Nolasco breezed through four innings and the Marlins beat the Cardinals 9-8 on Sunday.
The Marlins had committed 20 errors coming into the game, but for once had the pleasure of watching the other team kick the ball around Roger Dean Stadium.
Florida scored six runs in the fifth inning, helped by consecutive errors by Chris Duncan, Albert Pujols and Scott Schumaker, who had two errors as he continues to learn a new position. Shortstop Khalil Greene and right fielder Joe Thurston also had errors for St. Louis.
"That's not the way baseball games were meant to be played," said Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, who gave up three runs and four hits and walked two in 2 2-3 innings.
Two of those runs were unearned, caused by three errors while he was on the mound.
"It's like that children's book, '(Alexander and the) Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,'" Wainwright said. "Just brutal. ... Just very uncomfortable on the mound, very erratic. I was terrible."
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa brushed it all off as a "bad day."
"There were a lot of funky looking plays," he said.
One funky play gave the Cardinals a brief scare.
Two-time NL MVP Albert Pujols took a shot to the face by Wes Helms while stretching to catch a wide throw from Schmumaker. Helms had tried to leap over Pujols at first base, and the Cardinals star was hit by Helms' foot. He dropped on a knee after chasing down the errant throw and was attended to by a Cardinals trainer.
Pujols remained in the game, finishing 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk.
"That was scary," La Russa said. "He took a pretty good pop."
The Cardinals scored eight runs in the bottom of the fifth, with Marlins reliever Zach Kroenke allowing seven on four walks and three hits without getting an out.
Nolasco, the Marlins' projected opening day starter, allowed two hits with a pair of strikeouts and no walks.
Nolasco's goal is to not allow a walk this spring, then pitch 220 to 230 innings and walk fewer than 25 during the season. He said he slowed down his delivery from his first spring start in which he allowed five hits and three earned runs in three innings against the Orioles.
"I'm just going to throw strikes," Nolasco said. "I'm not going to let anybody get on base."
Catcher John Baker and first baseman Gaby Sanchez each had two hits for the Marlins. Jeremy Hermida was 1-for-2 with three walks and is hitting .368 with a .480 on base percentage.
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