Cardinals 6, Marlins 0

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MIAMI – Kip Wells allowed two hits in eight innings, Juan Encarnacion drove in three runs and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Florida Marlins 6-0.

Wells (4-12) struck out four and walked two to win for the first time since he threw two shutout innings in relief against Kansas City on May 23. It was his first win in a start since he beat Pittsburgh on May 23.

Encarnacion had three hits and So Taguchi added two hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals, who chased struggling Florida starter Dontrelle Willis in the fourth. Albert Pujols also had two hits and drove in a run.

The outing was the longest of the season for Wells, who lowered his ERA from 6.25 to 5.75. He’s tied for the major league lead in losses and had failed to win his previous six starts, but looked sharp against Florida.

Troy Percival worked a scoreless ninth to complete a three-hitter.

Josh Willingham singled in the second and Miguel Cabrera doubled in the fourth and singled in the ninth for the Marlins’ only hits.

Willis (7-9) was charged with six runs and 11 hits in three-plus innings, and drew a smattering of boos from the home crowd for the second straight outing. He hasn’t won in his past nine starts, the longest winless streak of his career. Willis’ last win came May 29 and he hasn’t won at home since April 23, going 0-6 at Dolphin Stadium since.

Excluding two starts where Willis left early due to injuries, the three-inning stint was his shortest since getting only seven outs against the Philadelphia Phillies last July 29.

Renyel Pinto pitched three hitless innings in relief for Florida. He struck out four and walked two.

Pujols and Encarnacion hit back-to-back RBI doubles to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first.

Taguchi hit a two-run double and Encarnacion singled in two more runs to stretch the Cardinals’ lead to 6-0 in the second.

Notes: Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez went 0-4 to end his nine-game hitting streak. … All nine St. Louis starters batted from the right side of the plate, a move made to challenge the lefty Willis. … Marlins 2B Dan Uggla was out of the lineup for the first time all season. Uggla played in the first 94 games this year.

AP-ES-07-18-07 2156EDT

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