It wasn’t hard to perceive that something was wrong when Cardinals righthander Jake Westbrook was rocked for 10 hits and six runs in four innings in a loss Sunday in Oakland. Westbrook is a 103-game winner, although he has been batted about before in a big-league career that began 13 years ago.
But what really had been askew for Westbrook was in how he recorded the few outs he did garner that day. There were just four outs achieved on three ground balls for a pitcher generally considered one of the most efficient sinkerballers in the game.

Westbrook, who admittedly was all over the place in his last start, rectified that statistic and then some Friday night against the Miami Marlins. Neither striking out nor walking a hitter, Westbrook instead induced the Marlins to bash grounder after grounder.

Counting two double plays, one an unusual one involving some umpire confusion, Westbrook netted 18 of 21 possible outs via the ground ball as he held the Marlins to three hits over seven innings in a 4-1 Cardinals victory before a sellout paid house of 46,177 at Busch Stadium.

There was just one exception. Miami’s Logan Morrison bashed a 440-foot homer to center in the second inning to tie the score at 1-1 after two-out doubles by Matt Holliday and Allen Craig in the first had given the Cardinals the lead against Westminster Christian product Jacob Turner, making his St. Louis professional debut.

But Holliday and Craig delivered again as the Cardinals rattled Turner (2-1) for three runs in the third.

After leadoff singles by Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay, Holliday stroked a two-strike pitch for his second opposite-field extra-base hit, a double into the right-field corner.

Carpenter scored and Jay was stopped at third, with Craig, baseball’s best hitter with men in scoring position (.476) up next. Jay scored soon enough on Craig’s sacrifice fly (run batted in No. 68) and Holliday came home on a two-out double by Matt Adams, who in the first inning had made his third diving defensive play at first base in two nights.

Turner, 22, righted himself later, facing only nine hitters over his final three innings.

“I threw a lot of good pitches, but I think I made too many mistakes with two strikes,” said Turner. “And they capitalized on those mistakes.