Martinez's start gives Cardinals opportunity for win -

Martinez's start gives Cardinals opportunity for win

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(BasebalStL) -- Mike Matheny said Monday's start would be an opportunity for Carlos Martinez, and while he pitched just four inning, the 22-year-old gave the Cardinals a chance to win.

Martinez cruised through the first two innings, throw a total of 14 pitches with five groundouts and a strike out. But his night unraveled steadily through the third and fourth innings.

While the run Martinez gave up was ruled an unearned run in the third, the damage could have been far worse. Both innings began with lead off walks, but only one of which came around to score. 

"He said he felt good overall," Martinez said through a translator, "He was able to battle and keep the team in the game. He made a couple of mistakes, but overall he said he thought he did pretty good."

In the fourth inning, Martinez loaded the bases with just one out, but Kolten Wong bailed his started out when he stabbed at a line drive hit by Mets' starter Jacob deGrom to keep the runners at bay. Then with the biggest strike out of his evening, Martinez fanned Eric Young and put a cap on his night.

After the game, Martinez said he felt physically fine and that he knew there was a pitch count he was limited to since he hasn't thrown as many pitches as a normal starter.

"Carlos did a nice job to get himself out of trouble," Matheny said following the game, "He was able to stay calm and try and execute pitches."

Matheny said he believes Martinez wasn't as effective when runners were on base.

"The only thing he really had wrong was when he went into the stretch," he said, "He was not quite as smooth or fluid as in the windup."

Nick Greenwood came into the game and earned the victory after pitching 3.1 innings and giving up just one run.

"Being able to have Carlos and Nick step in and do what they did, I don't know that you could as for more as we walked into today," Matheny said, as he threw two young guys into the most difficult portion of the game.

Following the game, Martinez said he was excited to start, because he likes it. Yet he said he is here to do whatever the team needs him to do. But there was one part of starting today that he didn't enjoy.

"He said he really wasn't too excited about hitting," Martinez told his translator Jaime Garcia, who had commentary of his own. "He can hit a little." 

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