In reality, it had nothing to do with the braids being gone. The first victory of the season for Carlos Martinez was simply about his pitching as the St. Louis Cardinals beat Milwaukee 2-1 tonight.
“I really felt like my pitches were perfect today,” said Martinez through a team interpreter. “The movement on them was great and I really worked on my changeup as well as my sinker. Everything worked out the way I wanted it to.”
The right-hander finished with a line of 7.1 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 unearned run, a walk, and 5 strikeouts.
“That was complete-game, shutout stuff,” stated Mike Matheny. “Not being afraid of contact. Trusting his infielders–I mean, how many innings did we have where it was groundball, groundball, groundball. That allowed him to be at 65 pitches thru 6. I mean, that’s incredible. We’re not opposed to the strikeout, there’s time for that and you saw that late. That last slider he threw to get the last strikeout was filthy. He’s got that ability, but I think he’s seeing that he can be more efficient, more consistent if he’s just trusting the movement.”
Martinez needed just 41 pitches as he set the Brewers down in order the first four innings and he did not allow a hit until the top of the 5th.
“He had phenomenal movement on his sinker today,” added Matheny. “Even in the bullpen, they were talking it was running the width of the plate. Just to get it on the plate, you’re almost having to sit on the opposite side. So that’s something that’s fun to play with because you’re going to see some swings and misses like we saw today and you’re going to see a lot of ground balls.”
“I don’t try to throw it as hard as I can,” said Martinez of controlling his movement. “Try to keep it low and in the middle. I know Yadi will take it from there.”
The 7.1 innings equaled Martinez longest start of the season–on Opening Day.
–Brett Cecil allowed one hit, but then got a big strikeout of Travis Shaw to finish the 8th inning. It was the 11th straight relief appearance for Cecil without allowing a run.
–Trevor Rosenthal struck out a pair of batters in the 9th to record his third save of the season.