ST. LOUIS (AP) – Miguel Cabrera had four hits and A.J. Burnett pitched into the eighth inning, helping the Florida Marlins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on Thursday night to split a four-game series.

Jeff Conine, Cabrera and Paul Lo Duca – the Marlins’ 3-4-5 hitters – went 9-for-11 against Jeff Suppan with three RBIs. They scored all the runs for Florida, which avoided its first three-game losing streak since July 16-18. Suppan held the rest of the lineup to 1-for-19, the hit an RBI single by Alex Gonzalez.

Cabrera, who was a quiet 3-for-12 with one RBI in the first three games, hit a two-run homer in the first, doubled and singled twice off Suppan. Lo Duca had three singles and an RBI and Conine singled twice and scored twice.

Seven of the Marlins’ hits came with two outs against Suppan, who needed 51 pitches to get the first two outs in his 6 2-3-inning stint, and 45 to get the third out. Suppan (10-8) gave up four runs and 10 hits, losing for the first time in six starts.

Burnett (9-6) won his fourth straight start against an injury-riddled lineup missing five starters, carrying a shutout into the eighth before tiring. He gave up three runs and 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings, ending a string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings.

The Cardinals had only one runner in scoring position over the first seven innings before breaking through in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Hector Luna singled with one out, stole second and went to third on catcher Lo Duca’s wild throw, then scored on a double by John Rodriguez.

Albert Pujols followed with a run-scoring single, a blooper that right fielder Juan Encarnacion might have lost in the lights, and John Mabry’s RBI double cut the deficit to a run.

Todd Jones got So Taguchi on a groundout with runners on second and third to end the eighth and finished for his 22nd save in 24 chances. Jones had his first at-bat of the season, taking a called third strike for the first out in the ninth.

Conine singled with two outs in the first and Cabrera followed with his 24th homer. Leadoff singles by Cabrera, Lo Duca and a two-out hit by Gonzalez made it 3-0 in the fourth.

In the fifth the Marlins bunched two-out singles by Conine, Cabrera and LoDuca to go ahead 4-0.

Notes: Cabrera is batting (.447) 34-for-76 since the All-Star break and .355 for the season. … Burnett has allowed three or fewer runs in 18 of his 22 starts. … Both regular 2Bs got the day off. The Marlins’ Jose Castillo, who was 5-for-11 in the series, has leg soreness. The Cardinals’ Mark Grudzielanek got his second break in 20 games since the All-Star break. … A sellout crowd of 44,201 was the Cardinals’ 18th straight game with over 40,000 in attendance.

AP-ES-08-04-05 2248EDT


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