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TB@MIA: Koehler throws eight strong frames vs. Rays

Despite recording a 3.24 ERA and three quality outings through his first four starts, Tom Koehler is still searching for his first win.

The right-hander stumbled as of late, surrendering four earned runs in each of his past two outings, but he will be looking to get back on track for the struggling Marlins on Saturday. The task, however, will be a tall one with one of the best lineups in the Majors in town this weekend.

Entering Friday night's series opener, the St. Louis Cardinals led the NL in both hitting -- with a .276 team batting average -- and on-base percentage (.336). They currently boast baseball's best record at 43-23. St. Louis ranks second in runs (329), total bases (934), RBIs (314) and OPS (.745).

"They've got a good veteran lineup," Koehler said. "The guys that are coming up have been stepping in and buying into their philosophy that they have over there. Basically, I'm just going to go at them and do the best job of executing the pitches and take it from there.

"It's just about going out there every fifth day and keeping the team in a position to win."

Lance Lynn will start opposite Koehler. Lynn is going for his ninth win after a no-decision in his last outing Sunday against the Reds.

The Cardinals are 10-3 with Lynn on the mound, and in the midst of a nine-game stretch against three teams below .500, they will be looking to build some separation between themselves and National League Central foes Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Marlins: Stanton, Morrison may back Koehler
While Koehler has the difficult task of subduing the Cardinals' bats, he may have some additional help behind him Saturday. Sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison could both be active for the first time with Koehler as the starter.

Stanton came off the disabled list earlier this week after missing 36 games with a right hamstring strain, while Morrison's status is still unknown after he was scratched from Friday's game with back tightness.

"Both [are] high-energy and good guys to have around the clubhouse," Koehler said. "Even if they don't necessarily have an impact in the game offensively, their impact will be felt throughout the clubhouse and the field."

Cardinals: Wacha optioned back to Minors for Westbrook's return
Jake Westbrook allowed eight hits and five runs -- three earned -- through five innings in his first appearance after being taken off the DL on Friday. Westbrook's return to the Cardinals sent rookie Michael Wacha back to Triple-A Memphis. Wacha was 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA in his three big league starts.

With the rotation settled, rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons will start Sunday's series finale against the Marlins. Lyons is 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA in four starts.

"It's nice to have that left-hander in our starting rotation, and it's been nice to watch Tyler do his thing," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's been very efficient and given us a chance every time he's been out there. Michael did a great job, too, but right now it's a better fit for Tyler to be in there."

Worth noting
• Marlins left fielder Juan Pierre's first inning-single on Friday extended his season-long hitting streak to 10 games, which is the 20th hitting streak of 10-plus games in his career.

• Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal, who is out for the season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, stopped by the visiting clubhouse at Marlins Park on Friday afternoon. Furcal has been rehabbing his elbow at the Cardinals' facility in Jupiter, Fla., and anticipates moving his rehab to St. Louis later this year.

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