Martinez dominates in bid to earn fifth spot

Martinez dominates in bid to earn fifth spot

JUPITER, Fla. -- Carlos Martinez was dominant in two perfect innings, and Matt Adams delivered a two-run single in the first that spurred the Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Marlins on Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium.

The significant news for Miami was that Giancarlo Stanton played four innings in right field, and in two at-bats, he lifted a pair of fly-ball outs. It was the two-time All-Star's first game action since he was struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11.

The Cardinals are looking for Martinez to step up and win the fifth starter spot. In his two-innings stint, the hard-throwing right-hander didn't disappoint. He threw 29 pitches, with 22 for strikes, while striking out three.

"I tried to focus on every pitch and be on the zone," Martinez said afterward with front-office member Luis Morales translating. "That's basically my main focus right now, to concentrate on the strike zone. That's how I want to work until the end."

Martinez on strong performance

An anticipated matchup was Martinez bringing the heat against Stanton, who is wearing a protective mask.

Martinez retired Stanton on a routine fly ball to left in the first inning, and his fastball was clocked at 95-96 mph in the sequence.

Dan Haren got the start for Miami, and he gave up two runs on three hits in two innings. Haren had a tough-luck first inning, giving up a two-run, opposite-field single to Adams. Jason Heyward started the one-out rally with a single that deflected off the glove of first baseman Michael Morse.

Haren fell behind 3-1 in the count to Heyward, who ripped a liner that Morse wasn't able to corral. It was scored a hit. Matt Holliday delivered a ground-rule double to left on a ball that Christian Yelich lost in the sun. The Cardinals added a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning on a groundout by Rafael Ortega and a Greg Garcia RBI double.

Miami's first hit came in the fourth inning, on Dee Gordon's bunt single.

The Marlins got on the board in the bottom of the eighth inning on an RBI single by Jhonaton Solano.

Up next for the Cardinals: Tune into Gameday Audio to listen as left-hander Marco Gonzales will get his first opportunity to audition for a rotation job on Friday when he starts against the visiting Astros at Roger Dean Stadium. Gonzales will be opposed by Brett Oberholtzer, with first pitch scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT. Jhonny Peralta (shortstop) and Mark Reynolds (first base) are expected to be in the starting lineup for the first time.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.