Typically a fireworks show is saved for after a game.
The Marlins and Cardinals were treated to one in the seventh inning Friday night just as the game turned in Miami’s favor.
In the nearby downtown area behind Busch Stadium, fireworks began pelting the night sky just as Jose Reyes’ infield single allowed Greg Dobbs to score the go-ahead run as the Marlins rallied for a 3-2 victory before a sellout crowd of 46,721.
Heath Bell picked up his 19th save, but not without more drama.
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He gave up a leadoff double to Skip Schumaker, who came around and scored on an infield single by Rafael Furcal.
But the Cardinals’ comeback came up short when Marlins second baseman Omar Infante made a great play to retire Carlos Beltran for the final out of the game.
"Got to give credit to our infield -- they won the game," said Bell, pitched in his fourth consecutive game and recorded his second save during that span.. "[Infante] turned a couple double plays and made that great play right there."
Beltran hit a chopper up the middle that Infante tracked down. Infante then turned and threw off-balance to first to retire Beltran.
"I was kind of nervous. It was a tight situation," Infante said. "I'm happy I was able to throw cleanly to first base."
The Marlins took advantage of three errors, and Ricky Nolasco beat the Cardinals for the first time in his career. The Marlins (41-42) won their third consecutive game and seventh in their past nine games.
And they continued to win in spite of the intense heat.
The temperature at the time of Friday’s first pitch was 103 degrees – the warmest for a Marlins game since June 14, 1999 at Arizona.
The 15-minute fireworks show began just seconds before Reyes hit a slow roller down the third base line. Cardinals’ starter Jake Westbrook fielded the ball and threw it high over first baseman Allen Craig allowing Dobbs to score.
Reyes was credited with an infield single and Westbrook was charged an error after Austin Kearns and Reyes each advanced a base.
Nolasco (8-6), who has won back-to-back starts, was 0-4 with a 5.23 ERA in the previous eight times he faced St. Louis.
He broke that drought Friday thanks to defensive aid.
The Marlins turned a pair of double plays at key points in the game as the Cardinals left 11 runners on base, squandering 12 hits.
Nolasco allowed nine hits, matching a season-high, in six innings and gave up an unearned run in the second inning. Nolasco struck out four, walked one batter and hit another. It was the third time this season Nolasco gave up nine hits.
The Cardinals played without All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, who was placed on Major League Baseball’s bereavement list prior to Friday’s game following the death of his wife’s grandfather. Molina traveled home to Puerto Rico, and teammate Matt Holliday will take his place in Tuesday’s All-Star game.
Jon Jay tried to bring the Cardinals back with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning when he roped a double to the gap in left center field off reliever Mike Dunn. But Steve Cishek pitched the Marlins out of the jam forcing both Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran to ground out to first.
Logan Morrison continued his recent torrid hitting in the eighth inning with a solo home run that gave Miami a 3-1 edge. The 389-foot blast off Cardinals reliever Maikel Cleto gave Morrison nine RBI for the first five games of the current road trip.
"I was just geared up for the fastball," Morrison said. "He left a pitch middle in and I was able to get the head out and put a good swing on him."
Morrison, who was twice hit by a pitch, has homered in three of his past four games and extended his hitting streak to nine games.
"Whatever it takes to win," Morrison said. "That's what I want to do."
Justin Ruggiano also pushed his hitting streak to nine games after going 2 for 4 Friday.
Giancarlo Stanton made his first appearance since Monday after missing three games with a knee injury when he pinch hit in the top of the ninth inning. Stanton struck out.
"Right now the ball start bouncing our way," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think we are starting to believe, create some confidence again. We come to the field and feel like we're going to play well. That's the main thing in baseball. We went through a very tough time and it seemed like we weren't going to come out of it. "