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Cardinals can't solve Alvarez, lose 8-4 to Marlins and drop series to spring training partner

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ST. LOUIS - Matt Adams had a sweet swing against Henderson Alvarez, finishing the day with a career-best four hits. Kolten Wong homered in his return from the disabled list.

The St. Louis Cardinals didn't get anything from the rest of the lineup, losing 8-4 to the Miami Marlins on Sunday and dropping two of three to their spring training partners.

"We can't say we had a lot of chances," manager Mike Matheny said. "We had a couple."

Matheny said closer Trevor Rosenthal was unavailable after a pair of extended outings in the first two games of the series, and the bullpen was worn out in general.

Cardinals rookie Marco Gonzales (0-2) allowed a run in 4 2-3 innings despite giving up seven hits and walking five in his third career start since being recalled from Double-A Springfield. The 22-year-old Gonzales, a first-round draft pick last year, yielded five runs in each of his first two starts.

"I don't know if I'd consider it the best of the three," Gonzales said. "I just went out and competed."

Matheny said fellow rookie lefty Nick Greenwood, who allowed three runs on five hits in two innings, deserved better. He noted the Marlins' first four runs came on two-out grounders that got through the infield.

The Cardinals had few opportunities against Alvarez.

"I know we're always looking for those big hits," Matheny said. "We don't care if they're on the ground, just like I'm sure over there they could care less how they got them."

Alvarez started the key rally with the first of his career-best three hits. Casey McGehee extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games with an RBI single in the first. Marcell Ozuna had a two-run single in a three-run sixth that made it 4-0, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's three-run homer off Jason Motte put Miami up 8-1 in the eighth.

The first two games of the series were decided by one run.

The Marlins have won a franchise-record 10 straight games started by Alvarez (6-3), and they easily took the series finale despite stranding 14 runners. Alvarez is 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA during that stretch.

Wong homered in the seventh for the lone run against Alvarez. Adams had an RBI double in the eighth.

Alvarez struck out to end the second and then had a hit in three consecutive at-bats, the biggest a leadoff bloop single in the sixth. He topped his previous best of two hits, done twice, and raised his average this season to .250.

The three-day weekend series drew 133,736 fans, with the first two games sold out and the finale just shy at 42,160. It was 84 degrees at game time and temperatures were unseasonably mild throughout.

Marlins manager Mike Redmond, a former catcher, remembers St. Louis and Kansas City as the hottest cities in the majors, with triple-digit temperatures this time of year and "just roasting out there."

"It's gorgeous," Matheny said before the finale. "Yesterday, I didn't realize it during the game but it was a beautiful day."

NOTES: Jim Edmonds threw out the first pitch, firing a high fastball to Matheny, on his bobblehead giveaway day. ... McGehee has hit in 20 straight games on the road, the second-longest streak in Marlins history behind a 27-game run by Luis Castillo in 2002. ... Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (11-4, 1.89 ERA) was tied for the league lead in wins heading into a Monday night matchup with the Pirates and Charlie Morton (5-9, 3.30). Wainwright is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh this year.

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