This past offseason, St. Louis Cardinals‘ General Manager John Mozeliak dealt starting pitcher Shelby Miller to Atlanta Braves. The 24 year-old righty was 10-9 with a 3.74 ERA in 2014, and was the main piece that made bringing Jason Heyward to St. Louis possible. Shipping Miller off also allowed for one other thing as well, the move gave Carlos Martinez the chance to finally make the jump from bullpen to rotation for good. Sunday afternoon Martinez made his first start as a member of the rotation, and he performed admirably.

The 23 year-old flamethrower went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits, and striking out eight. Martinez seemed set to take the W until the Cardinal bullpen faltered in the seventh inning that saw the Reds go up 5-3. The lead didn’t last long, as in the top of the eighth Jhonny Peralta sent a two-run blast into the stands to tie the game at 5. The Cardinals went on to win in eleven innings on Matt Carpenter‘s two-run shot to center field, and the Redbirds improved to 3-2 on the year.

Martinez did well in his start, as the two runs he gave up were on two solo homeruns, one by Todd Frazier and the other by Billy Hamilton. Martinez allowed only two other hits, and although he needed 100 pitches to get through six innings, Martinez showed good feel for his pitches, as evidenced by his career-high eight strikeouts. Martinez used his fastball and breaking pitches in good combos, effectively using the breaking/offspeed ball for each of his punchouts.  There wasn’t much to complain about, but surely manager Mike Matheny would like to see Martinez go deeper on less pitches in his next start, this time without making the mistake of hanging pitches for hitters to send into the stands.

All the same, Martinez had a solid outing to build on, and Cardinal fans should be excited for what Martinez can do throughout the season.

Players Of The Game

Carlos Martinez: 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 8 strikeouts.

Matt Carpenter: 2-5, game-winning homer in the 11th.

Jhonny Peralta: 2-4, two-run homer to tie in the eighth.

Up Next:

Milwaukee Brewers at Cardinals Monday. Adam Wainwright (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Matt Garza (0-1, 7.20 ERA)

Reds at Chicago Cubs Monday. Mike Leake (0-0, 4.76 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (0-1, 6.23 ERA)

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