Lyons pitches 3 innings to help Cardinals beat Marlins, 4-3

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Tyler Lyons was back on the mound Thursday for the St. Louis Cardinals, the stakes slightly smaller than the last time he pitched.

Even so, he wanted to throw well - and did.

Lyons allowed one run in three innings to help the Cardinals win their spring training opener against the Miami Marlins 4-3.

Last year Lyons made eight starts, and he threw seven scoreless innings when the Cardinals beat Pittsburgh to clinch the NL Central in the final week of the season.

''Any time you have success like that on a big stage, it tells you you can do it,'' Lyons said. ''That was a good one to go into the offseason and have that to remember. Hopefully that's something I can build off.''

Manager Mike Matheny remembered Lyons' last start as one of the best all season for St. Louis.

''He's a talented kid,'' Matheny said. ''It's just a matter of him putting it together. ... He had a great tempo today. We've been working on him being quicker to the plate, and he has made a great adjustment. And his stuff was real good.''

Lyons gave up a homer and double to Marcell Ozuna but allowed only one other baserunner. He threw 41 pitches.

The left-hander is expected to be in the bullpen this season but might also be a spot starter, Matheny said. Lyons has a 4.27 ERA in 40 appearances over the past three seasons.

Brandon Moss and Carlos Peguero hit back to back doubles for St. Louis in the second off Tom Koehler. Miami's Adeiny Hechavarria went 2 for 2.

STARTING TIME

Marlins: Koehler, expected to be Miami's No. 3 starter, threw 41 pitches in 1 2-3 innings. He allowed three runs, two earned.

Even by first-game standards, it was a shaky outing, manager Don Mattingly said.

''You don't want it to look like that,'' he said.

''I was very anxious playing a game again,'' Koehler said. ''It has been six months. The line obviously was not what I wanted to see, but at this point I'm not too concerned about that.''

COMEBACK BID

The Cardinals' Jeremy Hefner, trying to come back from two Tommy John operations, allowed one earned run in two innings.

BACKUP CANDIDATE

The Marlins' Justin Maxwell hit a homer and robbed Patrick Wisdom of a homer with a catch in center field. Maxwell is a contender for a roster spot as backup outfielder.

''He can play all three outfield spots,'' Mattingly said. ''He's a versatile guy who gives us some depth. This is great opportunity for him to swing the bat and show us what he can do.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

CARDINALS: RHP Matt Bowman was scheduled to pitch Thursday but was scratched after he awoke with blurry vision, and instead was sent to an eye doctor. He was hit in the eye during a drill Wednesday.

MARLINS: OF Christian Yelich, who has been nursing a stiff back, is scheduled to make his spring training debut Friday.

SPRING GOAL

Before the game, Matheny said last year's team left room for improvement running the bases. He wants the Cardinals to be more aggressive to put more pressure on the defense.

''We can still be a better baserunning team,'' he said. ''I don't think it's something we should be satisfied with.''

Tommy Pham took the message to heart. He tripled to start the first inning and continued home when Gold Glove second baseman Dee Gordon made a throwing error on the play.

''Good to see him push the limits,'' Matheny said.

UP NEXT

CARDINALS: LHP Jaime Garcia is scheduled to start at Houston on Friday.

MARLINS: The Marlins have their only split-squad games of the season Friday. LHP Adam Conley is scheduled to start against Washington in Jupiter, and LHP Justin Nicolino is scheduled to start at the New York Mets.

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