By R.B. Fallstrom
The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — After losing consecutive starts for the first time in his career, Lance Lynn resisted the temptation to alter his approach.
He has 11 wins prior to the All-Star break both of his years in the rotation because he stayed with the plan.
“That last one was all singles and bloops,” manager Mike Matheny said after a 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins wrapped up a three-game sweep Sunday. “The adjustment really is not to make too many adjustments.
“He was a bulldog,” Matheny added.
Lynn outpitched Marlins All-Star Jose Fernandez and Matt Holliday homered for St. Louis, which rebounded from a 3-8 stretch that bumped them from the majors’ best record.
The Cardinals regained a share of the NL Central lead with the Pirates, who lost to the Cubs.
“We’ve had some heartbreaks as of late,” Lynn said. “To be able to get a sweep any time of the year is great. It would be nice to get hot right before the All-Star break and rattle off a bunch of wins.”
Lynn (11-3) worked seven strong innings in 87-degree heat and matched All-Star Adam Wainwright for the team lead in wins. He struck out seven, fanning Giancarlo Stanton all three times, shaking off two outings in which he gave up nine runs in 13 2-3 innings.
“I tried to not even think about the last one,” Lynn said. “You’re going to have times where it seems like every time you throw a pitch and they hit it’s a hit, no matter where it goes.
“That’s kind of what the feeling was the last time,” he said, “but it can’t always be like that.”
The 20-year-old Fernandez (5-5) worked six innings a day after getting the nod as the Marlins’ lone All-Star and gave up three runs on four hits and a season-high four walks. He hadn’t allowed more than two earned runs in his previous six outings.
“They were just better than us,” Fernandez said. “I thought I made some good pitches but it’s not a secret for anybody, the Cardinals are one of the best teams in the league.”
The Cardinals swept the Marlins, with whom they share a spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla., for the first time since Aug. 4-7, 2011 at Florida, and the first time at home since May 23-25, 2000.
Trevor Rosenthal escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by getting pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs on a groundout, getting some help when Stanton froze between second and third and could not score on Logan Morrison’s hit.
“If a couple of things go our way or we make a couple of better plays, we win this game,” Morrison said. “That’s why they’re going to be in the playoffs. That’s why we’re not, because they know how do those things.
“We’re young. We’re learning. We’ll get there,” Morrison said.
Edward Mujica pitched for the fourth straight game and finished for his 23rd save in 24 chances, giving him a win and two saves in the series.
Adeiny Hechavarria and Jeff Mathis had an RBI apiece for the Marlins, who had won eight of 10 entering the series and had been on a 19-11 roll for the majors’ best record since May 31. Derek Dietrich doubled, walked and was hit by a pitch twice.
Holliday’s 12th homer, and first in 12 games, was a 420-foot shot to straightaway center in the first.
Both teams manufactured a run early. A wide throw to the plate from first baseman Morrison helped Carlos Beltran score on the front end of a double steal with Holliday in the third for St. Louis, and Mathis had a squeeze bunt for an RBI in the fourth for the Marlins.
Stanton fanned three times for the second time in four games. He’s 1 for 7 against Lynn with a homer, two RBIs, a walk and five strikeouts.
NOTES: Wainwright (11-5, 2.36) jumps ahead of rookie Shelby Miller in the rotation to start Tuesday against the Astros and Bud Norris (6-7, 3.22). Wainwright also will start the final game before the break, but didn’t mind not being eligible to pitch in the All-Star Game. ... Kevin Slowey (3-6, 4.24) takes Ricky Nolasco’s rotation spot for the Marlins Monday at home against the Braves and Mike Minor (8-4, 3.15). ... Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson threw the ceremonial first pitch. ... Holliday grounded into his major league-leading 22nd double play in the fifth. Both teams had a pair of double-play balls in the finale and totaled 10 in the series, five by each. ... All three games were sold out and offered giveaways, with a porch flag for the finale following a Holliday jersey and Mike Shannon bobble head. ... The Cardinals earned their first sweep since taking four straight from Milwaukee May 2-5. The Marlins have been swept nine times, seven times in three-game series and twice in two-gamers.