There are certain goals and milestones that every pitcher has when they begin their MLB career–that first strikeout, first win, etc. After flirting with a complete game on numerous occasions–even throwing nine innings recently, Carlos Martinez has finally chased down the elusive feat leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-0 victory over Philadelphia.
“All I can really say is I’m living out my dream,” gushed Martinez afterwards through a team translator. “This was one of my goals, one of my dreams. The next one is to pitch a perfect game. I just feel so happy with my performance–I was completely focused today. All my pitches were perfect, in my opinion, the location they were perfect and I’m just really happy.”
Tying his season high with 11 strikeouts on the day, Martinez had Cardinals fans holding their collective breath after he collapsed to the ground when hit by a pitch in the 7th inning.
“Thank God it wasn’t anything major,” he said. “I saw the ball. I thought it was coming right to my face, that’s why I reacted so quickly and got out of the way.”
Instead of his face, the pitch only grazed his knuckles and Martinez stayed in the game and even came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Jedd Gyorko.
Martinez began to sense his chance for a complete game later that inning and responded affirmatively when Matheny checked to be sure he was good for the final frame of work.
“It was a little bit nerve-wracking,” said Martinez. “When I went out in the 9th, Matheny told me I had 15 pitches to complete this game. We got the two outs and then when Fryer dropped the ball, I was like ‘oh no, they’re going to take me out.’ I looked to the dugout and he didn’t do anything, so I stayed in there. Stayed focused. And we got it.”
Not only did he stay focused, but Carlos turned up the velocity hitting 100mph on the radar gun in that last inning. And then as he done the entire game, mixed his speeds back down into the mid-80s to keep the Philadelphia hitters off balance.
“Everything has turned out perfect,” smiled Martinez. “Actually, I woke up really early this morning because I had an interview with MLB.com just about my story and my life. I actually got to the stadium a little bit late. But everything worked out–we got the win. It’s Family Day and tomorrow is my bowling tournament. I hope a lot of people show up and I’m looking forward to it.”
Jedd Gyorko drove in three runs for the Cardinals, who have won two straight against the Phillies after their seven-game skid on their recent road trip.
The Cardinals scored four runs in the fourth inning, tying their season high for runs in an inning.
Gyorko opened the scoring with a two-run double off the right-center wall, after a leadoff walk by Dexter Fowler and a double by Stephen Piscotty. Gyorko scored on a balk by Nick Pivetta. Eric Fryer made it 4-0 with an RBI single.
Pivetta (1-3), making his sixth career start, allowed four runs and four hits in five innings, with four walks and two strikeouts.
St. Louis added three runs in the seventh on Matt Carpenter's two-run double and Gyorko's sacrifice fly. The Cardinals finished with six hits.
Pivetta, the Phillies' starter, picked off Cardinals baserunners, Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham, to end the first and second innings.
BALK THIS WAY
Pivetta's fourth-inning balk was the Phillies' seventh balk of the season. The seven balks have come from seven different pitchers.
Phillies: 2B Cesar Hernandez was not in the lineup Saturday after experiencing tightness in his side during Friday's game.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina was scratched from the lineup for the second straight game with lower back stiffness.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (3-3, 4.28) tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits, in his only previous start against the Cardinals.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (6-4, 4.82) is 6-2 with a 2.85 ERA in 15 appearances (13 starts) against the Phillies. He is 3-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three day game starts this season.
The Tsunami Waves 3rd Annual Celebrity Bowling Fundraiser is Sunday, June 11th from 7-11pm at Flamingo Bowl on Washington Avenue in St. Louis.
Contributing: Associated Press