ST. LOUIS (AP) — Luke Voit is living his childhood dream with his hometown St. Louis Cardinals.
And the Cardinals are reaping the benefits.
The rookie first baseman hit his second home run and drove in three runs to help the Cardinals beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 on Thursday.
“What a great day for Luke,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ” … This kid continues to take great at-bats in big situations and it’s hard not to have him in the lineup when he’s swinging like he is.”
Voit, who also doubled, started for the fourth consecutive day at first base. He has seven RBIs during the month of July, tied for the team lead with outfielder Tommy Pham, and is hitting .333 through his first 11 games in the majors.
“I’m just trying to do my job and try to drive in runs, especially hitting in those key situations,” Voit said. “I’m glad I’m helping the team win.”
“He’s been a game-changer so far,” said Jedd Gyorko, who also had two hits.
The Cardinals, who had lost two straight, earned a four-game series split after winning the previous two series against the Diamondbacks and Nationals.
The Cardinals’ eight hits backed another good outing from Michael Wacha (6-3), who allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked two.
Marcell Ozuna had three hits and three RBIs for the Marlins. Dee Gordon had two hits, scored three runs and stole two bases.
Miami starter Tom Koehler (1-4) allowed three runs and four hits over five innings. He struck out seven and walked three. The two hits by Voit were costly.
“An 0-2 curveball that was supposed to get buried and didn’t get there and an 1-0 slider that he did a good job driving the other way,” Koehler said. “That’s a strong boy. He’s got a good swing.”
The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Ozuna’s two-out RBI single.
Voit tied it with a solo homer in the second inning. It traveled an estimated 446 feet and landed in the Big Mac Land section of the second deck, the first Cardinal to hit a home run there this season.
“That’s something I grew up wanting to do my whole life,” said Voit, who grew up idolizing former Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire. “To do it here is pretty sweet. I’m definitely going to remember that forever.”
Ozuna made it 2-1 with a broken-bat RBI single to right in the third.
Voit had a two-out, two-run double off the right field wall in the third to put the Cardinals ahead 3-2.
Randal Grichuk hit a solo home run, his eighth, in the sixth to make it 4-2.
Ozuna added another RBI single in the seventh.
Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh capped off a strong performance by the St. Louis bullpen. He allowed a leadoff single in the ninth, but locked down his 17th save in 20 chances.
ICHIRO HITS ANOTHER MILESTONE
Ichiro Suzuki’s second-inning single to left field was his 3,053rd hit in the majors, which tied Rod Carew for 24th on the career hits list. His eighth-inning single, hit No. 3,054, passed Carew and made him the major’s all-time hits leader for foreign-born players. Carew is from Panama.
Next up on the career hits list at No. 23 is Rickey Henderson with 3,055.
MAN OF STEAL
Gordon became the third in the majors to record 30 steals this season, following Trea Turner and Billy Hamilton, when he stole second base in the first inning. Gordon added his 31st steal in the seventh. He’s now had 30 or more stolen bases in five of the past six seasons.
Cardinals: Gyorko (left groin tightness) was back in the starting lineup after not starting the previous two games.
Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (6-4, 3.51 ERA) opens a three-game series against the Giants in San Francisco on Friday night. He is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts against the Giants.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (6-7, 3.15 ERA) opens a three-game series against the visiting Mets on Friday night. He is 3-1 with a 1.26 ERA in seven career appearances, including four starts, against the Mets.
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