Martinez handles Rockies as Cardinals win 4-2 -

Martinez handles Rockies as Cardinals win 4-2

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by JJ Bailey / BaseballStL | @TheJJBailey

(BaseballStL) -- Carlos Martinez served as stopper Wednesday, effectively shutting down the Rockies as the Cardinals offense pecked away.

The righty threw six shutout innings, only surrendering runs when outfielder Ben Paulsen pushed a ball over the wall in the seventh inning. The two-run shot looked like a double off the bat, but the thin air in Denver kept it aloft long enough to clear the wall by inches.

Martinez was pulled having gone 6.1 innings on 106 pitches, fanning only four hitters but pouring in 69 strikes.

Batters came into Wednesday hitting just .130 against his offspeed pitches, but the Rockies handled his breaking ball. They picked up four hits on the slurve, putting six in play. The changeup remained effective, as a solitary hit was the only time it was put in play.

Despite putting the first batter on in his final four innings, Martinez mostly escaped trouble. He got double plays to end the fifth and the sixth, and would have gotten another in the seventh if former Cardinal Daniel Descalso hadn't deployed a perfect slide to break up Kolten Wong's throw after his leadoff walk.

Part of his ability to avoid damage has be reliant on hitters missing his changeup completely. He's held a whiff percentage well above 20 this season on the pitch (25% in May), comfortably above his contemporaries.

Wednesday, he pulled the string 15 times, eight for strikes, and hitters swung and missed on three of them (20%).

It was another in a string of dominant starts from the Dominican, who has allowed just five earned runs in his last six starts (38.2 innings). His season ERA rests at 2.93, and he has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.46.

Soothing relief

Kevin Siegrist stepped in for Martinez after Paulsen's homer, mowing through five Rockies in just 17 pitches. He struck out four of the five he faced, fanning the side in the eighth inning on just 11 pitches.

Siegrist now has 38 strikeouts on the season and has lowered his ERA to 1.71.

Trevor Rosenthal came in to retire the side in the ninth, striking out two (31 total) and notching his 20th save (2nd in MLB).

Two-out tallies

The first three of the four Cardinal runs came with two outs Wednesday. Carlos Martinez picked up the first of his two hits in the third, eventually scoring on a Matt Carpenter single after Kolten Wong moved him two second with a base hit. It was Carpenter's first hit since the first game against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.

Wong went to third on the throw from the outfield, eventually scoring when Colorado starter Chad Bettis threw a wild pitch.

In the fifth, Carpenter reached on a single (his first multi-hit game since June 3), and scored when Mark Reynolds smashed a two-out double for his 18th RBI.

The fourth and final run came in the eighth, when Randal Grichuk answered Paulsen's homer with a leadoff shot to the opposite field. It was his third homer of the season.

What's next?

The Cardinals have a day off Thursday before hosting the Kansas City Royals for three games over the weekend. Jaime Garcia faces off against Yordano Ventura in game one.

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