On what proved to be the final play of Saturday’s game against the Cardinals, Marlins rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton’s objective was simple: charge the ground-ball single, get the ball in quickly and prevent the go-ahead run from scoring.

Whether in practices or games, it’s a drill he’s performed flawlessly countless times the entirety of his playing career.

This was that lone exception, though. This was that rare moment when one small step in the objective’s sequence got out of wack.

On a walk-off throwing error charged to Stanton, the Cardinals beat the Marlins at Busch Stadium, 5-4.

“Unfortunate way to lose a game,” said Marlins manager Mike Redmond, who watched the play from inside Miami’s clubhouse following a fourth-inning ejection. “This is a tough place to win ballgames, and we kind of had ourselves set up perfectly.

“It just didn’t work out.”

After a pair of early home runs gave the Marlins a 4-2 lead, they watched the game slip away across the final three innings. A pair of pinch hitters drove in St. Louis’ final three runs. The first two scored on game-tying homer that came off a mistake pitch in the seventh.

Then there was Stanton’s error in the ninth.

On the fateful game-altering, last-inning play, Stanton was attempting to hit his cut-off man, first baseman Logan Morrison, on a two-out throw that would make Cardinals baserunner John Jay freeze at third. Jay started the play at first base and was put in motion ahead of Shane Robinson’s 3-2 swing.

As the throw came in, Morrison stepped up to meet it.

It was too low.