Solano joined the Marlins this past offseason after bouncing around the Cardinals' farm system for seven years as a backup infielder, dreaming of the chance to be called up to play at Busch Stadium.
And when the Marlins and Cardinals begin their three-game series on Friday, Solano will find himself in the visiting dugout, peering over at the Cardinals' side to see such former Minor League teammates as Tony Cruz, Jon Jay, Allen Craig and Tyler Greene.
"I wanted to play in the big leagues with the Cardinals," Solano said. "That never happened. It happened with another team. My dream has come true, but it was with another team."
Solano was able to see many of his close friends when the Cardinals visited the Marlins in June, receiving several hugs and handshakes from St. Louis coaches and players during batting practice.
"A lot of them congratulated me on getting to the big leagues," he said. "They said they're happy to see me find success, because they know how hard I always worked when I was there. Sometimes you need to go to another team to make it to the Majors, and they are happy that I finally made it."
The Marlins' trip to St. Louis concludes a seven-game road swing as the teams head into the All-Star break. Thursday's 4-0 win over the Brewers gave the Marlins a series split after the first three games of the set were all one-run decisions.
Miami rode Mark Buehrle's masterful outing of 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Thursday's win, and will be hoping for a similar effort from Ricky Nolasco on Friday.
Nolasco gave up two runs in seven innings against the Phillies on Sunday and didn't issue a walk for the first time since April 7. He allowed one unearned run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings when he faced the Cardinals on June 25, but the Marlins are 1-6 in his seven career starts against St. Louis.
Jake Westbrook takes the mound for the Cardinals, who have won four of five thanks in large part to a much improved bullpen.
"I think we've had a lot of examples where that really didn't work out for us, to where we had short leads, small leads and couldn't hold on in the late innings," manager Mike Matheny said. "That really was a nemesis for us early on. So that's a nice piece to start getting in place, and hopefully that will continue."
Cardinals: Berkman nearing return
Lance Berkman fielded grounders at first base on Wednesday, and Matheny said that Berkman will head to a Minor League rehab assignment before being activated from the disabled list. Berkman needs to strengthen his surgically repaired right knee in order to return, and he resumed various baseball activities when he arrived in St. Louis on Monday.
In an attempt to bring Matt Carpenter's bat into the lineup, the Cardinals started him at second base on Thursday despite his admission that he hasn't played the position in an organized game since he was 13 years old. The move paid off, with Carpenter getting on base three times and scoring a run in the 6-2 win over the Rockies.
Marlins: Stanton looking to return before All-Star break
Giancarlo Stanton is hoping to play in the weekend series after missing the last four games with "loose bodies" in his right knee. He hit balls in the batting cages on Thursday at Milwaukee. If he isn't able to play this weekend, he probably won't participate in Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby and Tuesday's All-Star Game, but that hasn't been determined.
"One day at a time," Stanton said. "It's pretty important right now to kind of evaluate everything and make sure all is good to go."
Recent acquisition Carlos Lee debuted for the Marlins against the Brewers on Thursday, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He started at first base and batted third in the lineup.
St. Louis' Rafael Furcal is 6-for-12 with one home run and three RBIs off Nolasco in his career.
Miami's Hanley Ramirez has batted .332 in his career against the National League Central, the highest among active players with a minimum of 800 at-bats. This season he has hit .310 against the division, with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 20 games.
The Marlins have won five of the last nine games in St. Louis but are 33-42 overall there. The Cardinals lead the all-time series, 90-61.