Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Rogers gives up 3 early runs in loss to Cards as Molina hits milestone

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MIAMI — Yadier Molina hit a bases-loaded double during a three-run first inning, Daniel Ponce de Leon and the St. Louis bullpen protected the lead, and the Cardinals beat the Miami Marlins 4-1 Monday night.

Molina drove in two runs with his 382nd double, moving past Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for eighth place on the career list among catchers.

“Not surprised, he’s earned every bit the right to be among the company of the greats,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. “It means a lot to him. It’s well deserved.”

Ponce de Leon (1-0) allowed one run and three hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out three, walked one and hit Starling Marte twice. He relied on fastballs to shut down Marlins hitters as only 10 of his 93 pitches were off-speed.

“You love to go out there with all your weapons and fire exactly as you own them,” Shildt said. “But some days it doesn’t happen and the art of pitching is making adjustment­s and of course, Yadi is back there.”

St. Louis got a perfect sixth from Jordan Hicks and two scoreless innings from Giovanni Gallegos. Alex Reyes closed it with a scoreless ninth for his first save.

The performanc­e by Cardinals pitchers helped overcome a difficult weekend in Cincinnati, where they allowed 27 runs in losing two of three games.

Miami starter Trevor Rogers (0-1) walked four batters in the first, propelling St. Louis to its early advantage. Rogers allowed two hits, struck out six and didn’t walk another batter after the first. He went four innings.

“I had a real tough time just trying to calm myself down,” Rogers said. “Probably the main thing was I was trying to strike them out on the first pitch, which isn’t possible.”

Tommy Edman led off the St. Louis fifth with a home run against John Curtiss.

“I wasn’t looking for a slider, he had thrown me a good one earlier in the at bat,” Edman said. “He hung one there on the 2-2 (pitch).”

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