Martinez tosses 1st shutout, Cardinals thump Phillies
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[June 12, 2017]
ST. LOUIS -- There was a school
of thought that St. Louis Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez wasn't
capable of crafting a successful outing if he didn't have Yadier
Molina to call his pitches.
As of Saturday, consider that theory to be a shattered myth.
With Eric Fryer catching for the second straight game after Molina
had to sit out, Martinez authored the first shutout of his major
league career, checking the Philadelphia Phillies on four hits in a
7-0 triumph at Busch Stadium.
Martinez (5-5) fanned 11 and walked just one in his 107-pitch gem.
His last strikeout was on a 100 mph fastball to Howie Kendrick on
his 101st pitch of the game. With the crowd of 43,911 standing and
cheering for the 27th out, Martinez induced a game-ending groundout
from Maikel Franco.
After the out, Martinez walked off the mound, patted his chest three
times and hugged Fryer as fireworks went off.
"It's been one of my goals," Martinez said through an interpreter.
"I just feel happy. I'm living out my dream. The next goal is a
With a triple-digit fastball, two wipeout secondary pitches (slider,
changeup) and an improving slow curve, Martinez possesses the
arsenal to confound any lineup. He was certainly too much for a
Philadelphia nine that has scored just seven runs in its last five
games, losing four straight.
But doing what he did with Fryer calling pitches displayed the
increased maturity in Martinez's approach. It was the first time
Fryer had caught Martinez this year, but there were few, if any
shake-offs, and definitely a good pace from the outset.
"He's always got the stuff," Fryer said. "It's just a matter of if
he can control it the whole game. The focus was there from the
outset. You could see guys getting frustrated. They'd get fastball
counts and he'd slip a slider in there."
Martinez picked up a strikeout in every inning but the seventh. He
whiffed Aaron Altherr three times, all looking. Only twice in 32
hitters did he go to three-ball counts, so precise were his pitches.
The closest the Phillies (21-39) got to chasing him was with an
inaccurate fastball from reliever Jeanmar Gomez in the bottom of the
seventh. Martinez squared around to bunt and then ducked a pitch
headed for his noggin.
Martinez was awarded first base when plate umpire Chris Conroy said
the pitch conked him on the hand, although replays showed the ball
appeared to hit nothing but the bat.
"I thought he broke his wrist or something and he was fine,"
Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said. "That surprised me."
Less surprising was that Phillies starter Nick Pivetta (1-3)
struggled with command, giving up four walks in his five innings to
give him 16 walks in 29 1/3 innings.
[to top of second column]
Cardinals left fielder Tommy Pham (28), center fielder Dexter Fowler
(25), and right fielder Stephen Piscotty (55) celebrate after the
Cardinals defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 7-0 at Busch Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday's third free pass, a leadoff four-pitch job
to Dexter Fowler in the fourth, kick-started the inning which
decided the game.
Stephen Piscotty doubled Fowler to third. Jedd Gyorko rifled a
double off the wall in right-center that plated both runners.
Pivetta later balked Gyorko home and Fryer capped the outburst with
an RBI single.
Pivetta allowed four hits and four runs, picking up a pair of
strikeouts. The rookie right-hander has failed to surpass five
innings in any of his first six big league starts, although he did
pick off runners to end the first two innings.
Matt Carpenter added a two-run double in the seventh for St. Louis
(28-32). Gyorko finished the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right
for his third RBI of the day.
Martinez badly wanted to finish what he started. He looked at
manager Mike Matheny after the eighth and asked him for the ninth.
Mindful of an off-day that will give Martinez five days before his
next start, Matheny gave him the chance.
Martinez rode it all the way to a personal goal.
"It's important for these young guys," Matheny said of the shutout.
"It's a big goal for all of them."
NOTES: St. Louis C Yadier Molina (lower back stiffness) was
scratched for a second straight game, with Eric Fryer taking his
place. It's just the ninth time in 60 games that Molina hasn't
started this year. ... Philadelphia RHP Casey Fien made his first
appearance for the team Friday night with two scoreless inning. It
also marked a milestone of sorts for Fien, as it was his 300th major
league game. ... The Cardinals' 1-2 hitters, 1B Matt Carpenter and
CF Dexter Fowler, each had two hits on Friday night. It was just the
second time this season they did it in the same game; the first was
on April 27 in the nightcap of a doubleheader with Toronto.
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