MIAMI – With his last-place team on a staggering skid, many might have expected Ozzie Guillen to be fuming after he was ejected for the first time as manager of the Miami Marlins.
Instead, he simply acknowledged he was wrong.
Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer and Kyle Lohse pitched into the eighth inning to lead the St. Louis Cardinals past the slumping Marlins 5-2 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.
The Marlins have lost eight of nine and are 3-17 in their last 20 games. Guillen was tossed in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Dan Bellino.
"After I (saw) the replay, I think I was wrong," Guillen said. "At least I'm honest."
Following a walk issued by Carlos Zambrano to Allen Craig that loaded the bases, Guillen came out of the dugout to lift his pitcher. Guillen walked by Bellino to voice his displeasure with a call and was thrown out of the game.
It was Guillen's first ejection as Marlins manager and 28th overall.
"I don't think he understood what I said," Guillen explained. "He looked at me like I was (an) alien or something."
Zambrano (4-6) pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing five unearned runs and seven hits. He struck out five and walked five while throwing 73 of 125 pitches for strikes.
"I was too quick to second base (in the first inning) and threw the ball into center field," Zambrano said. "But on the other hand, I was able to pitch six innings and save the bullpen."
Molina has homered in three straight games to give him 12 this season, two shy of his career best set last year.
"I'm just trying to hit the ball, that's it," Molina said. "Seeing the ball and trying to hit the ball. It's that simple."
Molina's two-run shot with two outs in the ninth Monday night off Miami closer Heath Bell capped a four-run inning, and St. Louis went on to win 8-7 in 10 innings.
"He's amazing," Lohse said.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher himself, also is impressed by Molina.
"He continues to just improve, which seems hard for a guy — and I've never been shy in saying, I think he is the best in the game," Matheny said. "He just doesn't rest on that. If there's something in the top level he's just working until he figures it out. You just can't say enough. We're spoiled around here."
Lohse (7-2) allowed two runs and four hits while striking out four. He is 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA at the new Marlins Ballpark.
"It's only two starts, but you have certain parks where you feel comfortable in and this happens to be one so far," Lohse said.
Jason Motte pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 20 chances.
One night after Molina's tying homer in the ninth keyed a huge comeback, St. Louis scored five unearned runs in the first.
"It's nice when these guys come out with that kind of aggressiveness," Matheny said. "Fortunately, that was enough because that's all we had."
The Cardinals jumped out to a big early lead, aided by errors from Zambrano and shortstop Jose Reyes. Molina took advantage of the miscues with his 12th homer. Carlos Beltran had an RBI single.
"(Zambrano) made a mistake, other teammates made a couple mistakes, and we made them pay," Molina said.
Giancarlo Stanton's 17th home run and Greg Dobbs' sacrifice fly pulled the Marlins to 5-2.
Miami threatened in the sixth after Reyes and Hanley Ramirez reached, but Lohse got out of the jam when shortstop Rafael Furcal snagged a hard-hit grounder by Logan Morrison and turned a double play.
"If that ball is a base hit, it might be a different game," Guillen said. "That's one of the best shortstops in the game.
"The reason I got released from the Atlanta Braves (in 2000) was him," Guillen added. "They released me to give him a chance. He has played tremendous shortstop."
NOTES: Furcal has scored a run in a team-high six straight games. ... Marlins lefty reliever Mike Dunn has recorded four straight perfect appearances. "If he throws the ball like he has, that's going to be a huge move for us," Guillen said. "It would be like trading for somebody. We need him very bad." ... Marlins RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 3.94 ERA) will oppose RHP Joe Kelly (1-0, 3.52 in the series finale on Wednesday. Sanchez is 1-4 with a 6.49 ERA in his last six starts.