For the first time since May 13th, the St. Louis Cardinals scored a run while Carlos Martinez was on the mound and the right-hander made the most of it, delivering 8.0 strong innings in a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles tonight.

“It’s been a tough stretch against LA, we lost the last two,” began Martinez afterwards. “So I was really focused going into this game because I wanted to win it. Obviously, both teams wanted to win it, but I was very focused on getting this one for the team.”

After delivering five straight balls to begin the game, Martinez settled down and found control on the movement of his pitches.

“Just try to get it right down the middle and make them swing,” he explained. LA rookie Cody Bellinger swung and connected in the 2nd inning–a line drive snared by Martinez. The shot was clocked by Statcast with an exit velocity of 107.5 mph.

“That’s actually something I’ve been working on,” shared Martinez. “Right when I pitch, sometimes I used to move from side to side. Now I’m working on staying right in front of home plate so I can be ready for any plays like that.”

“It’s actually turning out better for me,” he continued. “So when I square up, it’s better because the pitches, I feel like are just a lot more straight down the middle, whereas I with my body was having a lot more movement.”

Martinez also struck out nine Dodgers in the game–giving him 41 for the month of May, a new single-month high.

“Carlos, he was–he was great,” stated Mike Matheny. “It’s the timing of when he gets his hand on top of the ball and when it synchs up with the timing of his stride foot landing. When it’s on time, everything else kind of falls into place. I thought his last (inning) was probably his smoothest. Just the way the ball was coming out, it was effortless but still had the velocity. You’re talking after 106 pitches, he still looked really strong. Just an impressive day. That’s what we needed, we needed somebody to step up and have a big day. Just not Carlos, but for Dex to come through big for us also.”

Fowler sent an 8th inning pitch 429 feet away over the wall in right center for the winning run. It was his 7th home run of the season, the sixth which game the Cardinals a lead.

“It felt good,” smiled Fowler. “Especially when a guy pitches like that, you always want to reward him. He came out in the 8th and kind of gave us some momentum throwing like that.”

“That’s how you do it,” said Martinez. “It’s a team effort. And it was great, I know everyone was happy with it. When I was taken out, the game was tied and he was unable to untie it with a home run. That’s exactly what I wanted.”