Tough month in the past, Martinez settles in

Tough month in the past, Martinez settles in

NEW YORK -- After navigating through various turns of the learning curve during his first three starts this month, Carlos Martinez settled himself considerably in Wednesday's 9-0 win over the Mets.

Martinez threw the first 6 1/3 innings of the team's fourth shutout of the season, just the second time in 16 career starts that he has not allowed a run. He needed Randal Grichuk's diving catch with the bases full in the third and Bartolo Colon's curious indecision about tagging up at third to keep the scoreboard empty, but otherwise ran into little trouble.

Martinez wiggles out of a jam

"I felt really comfortable with everything," Martinez said afterward through a translator. "I was really focused on the strike zone."

Martinez went on to explain how he had found himself overthrowing in recent starts, trying to be too perfect with pitches instead of trusting the movement and deception that had been so effective in April.

Martinez went at least six innings in each of his four April starts, but this was the first time he reached that benchmark in May. He had the efficiency to allow for it.

"Carlos was good today," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think he's doing well. Just as the game goes longer, I think the consistency of him controlling his focus is going to be one of his biggest challenges."

Though Matheny gave Martinez a chance to finish the seventh, Martinez lost that shot by throwing 12 pitches to the first two batters in the inning. He walked the second.

Martinez improved to 4-2 with the win and outdueled fellow Dominican Colon in the process. Martinez was a 1-year-old when Colon signed his first professional contract, with the Indians.

"I felt really proud to do that, because Bartolo Colon is a guy who has spent a long time in the big leagues and is a legend in the Dominican," Martinez said. "I was happy to face him and happy to get the win tonight."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.