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Nolasco impressive in six as Marlins top Cardinals

Nolasco impressive in six as Marlins top Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Battery mates Ricky Nolasco and Rob Brantly played key roles in the Marlins' 6-0 victory Sunday over the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

Nolasco turned in a solid start for the Marlins. The right-hander threw six scoreless innings, allowing just six hits while striking out five. Nolasco's command was strong, throwing 55 of his 75 pitches for strikes.

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"He did a nice job, especially after his last outing that was a little rough," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It was definitely good to see him bounce back."

Nolasco struggled mechanically in his last start, allowing seven runs on eight hits over three innings. But the Marlins' Opening Day starter made an adjustment between starts that made a big difference in his performance.

"I was just working on getting a better angle on my fastball and keeping my front side closed, since in my last start I was flying open," Nolasco said. "I just had to work on that in between, and I thought I did a good job of staying closed and keeping the fastball down."

Meanwhile, Brantly drove in three runs on three singles off Cardinals starter Lance Lynn. The 23-year-old Brantly drove home Placido Polanco on singles in the first and third innings and pushed home Juan Pierre with a base hit to left field in the fourth.

"We talk about scenarios where they pitch around [Giancarlo] Stanton, and we have a guy come up and get the hits," Redmond said. "Today Brantly did that, and it was perfect."

Lynn struggled against the Marlins, allowing five runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander's only scoreless inning was the second, and the Marlins plated three runs on five hits in the third.

"I thought he looked pretty good today," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I thought he looked better than the results said. It was a heavier ball. It looked more like his natural slot. There's a lot of things that didn't work out well for him in the end today, but I thought it was a day of moving forward from his last start."

Polanco had two hits for the Marlins, while Pierre, Casey Kotchman and Justin Ruggiano each drove in a run.

Shane Robinson had a solid day for the Cardinals, collecting three base hits and a stolen base.

Stanton and Marlins reliever Steve Cishek, along with Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs, played their first Grapefruit League game since rejoining their teams following Team USA's elimination from the World Baseball Classic.

Stanton had two hits and walked once in his return, while Cishek threw a scoreless inning in relief.

Up next: Nathan Eovaldi will make his fifth start of the spring when the Marlins visit the Twins on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET, available on Gameday Audio. In his last start, on March 13, the right-hander held the Braves to one run on three hits over five innings. Eovaldi's only blemish that day was a second-inning solo homer by Freddie Freeman.

David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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