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03/18/12 3:33 PM ET

Wainwright cruises; Freese hits go-ahead shot

JUPITER, Fla. -- When Adam Wainwright and Carlos Zambrano are on the mound, opposing lineups tend to have a hard time scoring many runs.

The two starters lived up to expectations, but the Cardinals exploded for three runs against the Marlins' bullpen in the eighth to beat Miami, 4-2, at Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday.

Zambrano struck out seven while holding the Cardinals to just one run over four innings. The right-hander had trouble gripping the ball in the bottom of the third due to a passing rain shower. After allowing two runners to reach, Zambrano limited the damage, allowing just one to score.

"I guess I went back to being a strikeout pitcher," Zambrano joked. "Not too bad. I'll take [it]. I feel everything is there, the way I want it."

Wainwright was also happy with how his start went. The right-hander allowed just one unearned run over four innings. The Marlins had only one hit off Wainwright, a single by John Buck in the third.

"I was real pleased with today," Wainwright said. "By far the most comfortable I felt on the mound. I made a bunch of good pitches. I've just got to hone it in a little bit, because I made a lot of quality pitches, down in the zone and just off the corner."

The Cardinals' offense struggled to put together a big inning for most of the game. St. Louis had seven hits through the first seven innings, but scored just one run when Matt Holliday doubled home Daniel Descalso in the third.

"The pitch I threw to Holliday, he's a great hitter," Zambrano said. "He's strong. I made a mistake. He's the type of hitter, if anybody makes a mistake to him, he will make them pay."

David Freese helped St. Louis break through with a big inning in the eighth when he smashed a go-ahead three-run homer off Marlins reliever Rob Delaney. The blast was Freese's third home run of the spring.

Miami's lineup only mustered four hits on the day, but they were able to make the most of their opportunities. The Marlins scored a run in the third thanks to a Descalso throwing error, and added another when pinch-hitter Clint Sammons doubled home Bryan Petersen in the fifth.

Up next: The Cardinals head north to face the Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Lance Lynn, who threw three scoreless innings against the Astros on Wednesday, will make his second start of the spring. The right-hander, who pitched primarily out of the Cardinals' bullpen last season, will look to throw about 60 pitches as he continues to stretch out as a starter.

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