Jul 16, 1:00 AM EDT

Defense lets down Cardinals in 7-6 loss to Marlins


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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- There was no sugarcoating it. Defense, perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals' biggest shortcoming all season, let them down again.

Manager Mike Matheny cited the "non-plays" as much as the lone error that led to the tying run in a 7-6 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday night.

"Whenever we had one, it hurt us," Matheny said. "Just one of those days I know just about every decision I went to didn't seem to work, and that doesn't help."

The Cardinals came out of the All-Star break with a major league-leading 68 errors and reliever Kevin Siegrist's wild pickoff throw trying to catch 42-year-old Ichiro Suzuki napping in the eighth inning was the 69th.

Two other plays were just as costly.

Matt Holliday, getting his sixth start at first base, couldn't handle a long hop on a potential double play ball in the fourth that led to a run. Center fielder Randal Grichuk came in and couldn't retreat in time to harness Marcell Ozuna's double in the ninth that led to the winning run.

"I felt like I had a good bead on it and I kind of had it and it just kind of tilted away," Grichuk said.

Matheny gave Holliday, a career left fielder before this season, the benefit of the doubt, for the missed play in the fourth.

"No matter how much work he gets, it's tough to prepare for," he said. "He's going to get better the more time we get him out there, but there is going to be a learning curve."

Suzuki had a pinch-single in the eighth for his 2,991st career hit and scored to tie it and Miguel Rojas drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth in the Marlins' fourth straight victory.

Tommy Pham had two of the Cardinals' four homers and drove in four runs. Stephen Piscotty and Grichuk also connected for St. Louis, which hit two each off Wei-Yin Chen and reliever David Phelps.

"It's just tough to be on this side of the equation when you had a good night like I did," Pham said. Of his curtain call after a three-run shot in the fourth, he said, "It's horrible now."

The hit was the first since July 4 for the 42-year-old Suzuki. He's had just seven pinch-hit appearances and one start this month with the Marlins, who have a steady outfield rotation of Christian Yelich, Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton.

The Cardinals blew leads of 4-1 and 6-5 to fall to 19-27 at home, and are 27-16 record on the road. They were 55-26 at home last year, tied for best in the majors.

"It's incredible, I don't understand what's going on," Grichuk said. "We've got a great ballpark here, we've got a great fan base - they bring it every night - and it's one of those things."

Chen has surrendered 19 homers, among the league leaders. Phelps had given up just two in 46 innings but the bullpen rallied with Fernando Rodney (1-2) working a perfect eighth and A.J. Ramos earning his 28th save in 29 chances.

Seung Hwan Oh (2-1), the Cardinals' stand-in closer, lost on his 34th birthday.

Suzuki singled off Siegrist with one out in the eighth and scored on Martin Prado's two-out hit off Jonathan Broxton.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: 1B-OF Brandon Moss (ankle) is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday but is still in a walking boot.

UMPIRE DOWN

The umpiring crew worked a man short after plate ump Chad Fairchild took a foul off his right forearm in the bottom of the first. Jim Joyce went from first base to home.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Long-time Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon worked the booth on his 77th birthday.

UP NEXT

Marlins: Tom Koehler is 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals.

Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (8-5, 4.49) is 50-28 with a 3.05 ERA for his career after the break. He is 2-0 his last two outings, allowing one run in 14 innings.

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