MIAMI — Ricky Nolasco allowed one run and three hits in seven innings Sunday to help the Miami Marlins take the rubber game of their three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-2.
NL Central leader St. Louis lost a series for the first time since April 26-28 against Pittsburgh.
The Marlins climbed above .300 at 21-47, still baseball's worst record. They scored 19 runs in the series against a team with the lowest ERA in the majors.
The abundance of offense was a refreshing change for Nolasco (4-7), who has endured the worst run support of any pitcher with at least 14 starts. Luxuriating in a lead, he retired 11 in a row during one stretch.
Juan Pierre drove in two runs and had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, while Justin Ruggiano and Placido Polanco each had a two-RBI hit. The Marlins have won eight of the past 14 games, their best stretch this season.
Tyler Lyons (2-3), making his fifth major-league start, lost for the third time in a row after winning his first two decisions. He gave up six runs in 5 1-3 innings.
The Cardinals managed only five hits, all singles, with NL batting leader Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday out of the lineup. Both were given a day to rest but pinch-hit in the ninth, and Holliday was called out on strikes against Steve Cishek with the bases loaded to end the game.
Cishek earned his ninth save in 11 chances.
Carlos Beltran went 0 for 4 to end the longest active hitting streak in the majors at 14 games. Matt Carpenter was also hitless and finished 7 for 38 (.184) on the Cardinals' nine-game trip.
Jon Jay and Matt Adams drove in St. Louis' runs. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton made a leaping catch at the fence to rob Adams of an RBI and an extra-base hit in the seventh.
The Marlins scored twice in the first. Pierre led off with a single and took third on a double by Stanton. Ruggiano followed with a two-run single.
A bout of wildness against the bottom of the order cost Lyons in the fourth inning. He hit Jeff Mathis, who was batting .128, and then Nolasco walked for the first time this year to load the bases. Pierre followed with a two-out, two-run single for a 4-1 Miami lead.
Pierre increased his RBI total to eight in 222 at-bats this year.
Polanco had three hits starting for the first time in five games after being sidelined by back stiffness. His two-out, two-run double in the fifth made it 6-1.
Notes: Miami 1B Logan Morrison (back) took grounders before the game but sat out for the third day in a row. ... The crowd of 18,468 was the largest of the homestand. ... David Freese had one hit, but his lifetime average against the Marlins fell to .462 (18 for 39). ... Marlins OF Marcell Ozuna, who is in a 1-for-20 slump, was given the day off. ... Pierre has 15 hitting streaks of at least 12 games, which is tied for fourth among active players.