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STL@MIA: Beltran cranks his second homer of the game

MIAMI -- Carlos Beltran reached a milestone in a game filled with offense on Saturday.

Beltran hit his 350th career home run -- his second of the game -- and the Cardinals outslugged the Marlins, 13-7, before 16,098 at Marlins Park.

The 36-year-old led off the second inning by smashing a ball off the right-field foul pole to extended his hitting streak to 14 games. But Beltran was not done yet.

"I feel great and I have to thank God for that," Beltran said. "I've been healthy and working hard. Good things are happening for me and the team. I'm just happy with where we are right now."

The switch-hitter, who tripled in the eighth, homered from the right side of the plate in the ninth to cap a 3-for-6, two-RBI game. The two-dinger performance marked the second multi-homer game of the season for Beltran, who went deep from both sides of the plate in the same game for the 11th time in his career.

"Everything that you do in this game is always great," Beltran said. "But right now, I don't really think about milestones. I think about trying to find ways to help the team win."

While Beltran had a big game for the Cardinals, the entire lineup had success against Marlins starter Tom Koehler. The Cards sent 10 men to the plate and scored five runs in the first inning. But the Marlins responded, scoring four runs in the bottom half against Cardinals starter Lance Lynn. The two teams combined to throw 64 pitches, score nine runs, smack eight hits, walk twice and hit two batters over a first inning that lasted 36 minutes.

"When you get five runs in the first, you can't come back and give up four," Lynn said. "It was a bad day."

Beltran's homer in the second gave Lynn a two-run lead, but Miami's Giancarlo Stanton crushed a two-run shot to right-center field in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 6.

"I only had one pitch today and it was the fastball," Lynn said. "When I threw it, they got hits on it, and I wasn't able to get any other pitch over for strikes."

David Freese broke the short-lived stalemate and gave the Cardinals their second straight inning with a leadoff homer, crushing a first-pitch slider over the right-field wall to open the third.

Two innings later, Lynn was due up with two outs and the bases loaded in a 7-6 game. Mike Matheny decided to let his pitcher hit, and the manager was rewarded as Lynn smacked a two-run single to put the Cardinals ahead, 9-6.

"Pitchers don't like it, but Matt Holliday says a lot of times when they come to bat to 'go ahead and get lucky,' and I think that's kind of what happened," Matheny said. "The thought is I want to put confidence in our pitcher. He had a one-run lead in the fifth inning. It was an opportunity to show him that he is one of our horses. He wasn't sharp tonight and there are going to be times like that, but I want him to know that I want him on the mound. Fortunately, he came through and got a couple of runs."

Lynn's hit proved key as he allowed another run in the fifth on a Greg Dobbs RBI double. The right-hander got through five innings and picked up his ninth win of the season despite giving up a career-high seven runs on nine hits.

"It definitely wasn't one of his better games, but fortunately the offense came in and really gave a lot of room for him to figure a few things out," Matheny said. "It was one of those struggles from the first pitch on that you could tell it was going to be a tough one. He got through five and then the bullpen came and did a terrific job."

The Cardinals added three runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach and improve their MLB-best record to 44-24.

"We just weren't able to hold them off long enough to give ourselves a chance to score some more runs," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It's tough to hold those guys down, too. They have a pretty good offense."

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