(BaseballStL) – For his third straight start, the Cardinals won the game in which Carlos Martinez started, but the four relievers who followed Martinez into the game earned the victory and held the Dodgers’ batters at bay.
Seth Maness, who threw 2.1 innings, earned the victory after pitching the Cardinals out of a jam in the fifth inning, runners stationed on first and third, by inducing his fifth double play of the season – Maness had 16 in 2013.
“Carlos got himself in a little bit of a bind and Seth came in, even against a lefty which hasn’t necessarily been a strength for him,” manager Mike Matheny said following the game, “and made some good pitches against Gonzalez, being able to pull us out with that double play.”
Sam Freeman, Pat Neshek and Trevor Rosenthal pitched the remaining 2.1 innings, giving up just one hit, one walk and striking out one as Rosenthal earned his 24th save of the season. The bullpen faced 14 batters and got six ground ball outs and zero fly ball outs.
“All did exactly what we were hoping they would do,” Matheny continued, “Sammy [Freeman] hasn’t even been here and he’s been able to jump into those tough positions and come in and be real effective against lefties.”
The bullpen had to pick up Martinez who threw 82 pitches over 4.1 innings, the highest amount of pitches in his three starts as he continues to adjust from reliever to starter. In his last two starts, he threw 133 pitches over 9.0 innings.
Only 49 of Martinez’s pitches Friday night were strikes, but out of the 20 batters Martinez faced, four of the grounded out, two of them flew out and another four were struck out.
Matheny said Martinez struggles the most during the game when he has runners on and has to work from the stretch instead of the full wind-up.
“We’ve got some more work to do,” Matheny added, “There are some minor things that we’re going to adjust again. Hopefully start to see some of that consistency in the zone and on that movement.”