ST. LOUIS -- Behind seven scoreless innings from starter Carlos Martinez and an early homer by Jhonny Peralta, the Cardinals earned a series victory over the Dodgers with a 3-1 win in Sunday's rubber game at Busch Stadium.
Martinez ran his scoreless-innings streak to 20 1/3 innings (the longest active streak by a starter) as he made his third consecutive scoreless appearance. Andre Ethier's second-inning single marked the only hit the Dodgers tallied in Martinez's seven-inning start.
"He was great, maybe one of his best yet from his first pitch; and his last one, he turned it up a notch," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez. "He was very consistent with everything he had. He had great movement. He had great poise. Today was a very tough test for him all the way around and he answered."
Joc Pederson tagged Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist for a first-pitch homer in the eighth to pull the Dodgers to within one. The home run, Pederson's 13th of the season, prevented the Dodgers from being shut out for the fifth time in their last six road games.
Still, it wasn't enough to overcome Peralta's production. The Cardinals' shortstop blasted a two-run homer off Los Angeles starter Brett Anderson in the first. He then padded the Cardinals' lead with an RBI single in the eighth.
"You just hope after the first where I gave up the homer that it's not going to be enough to beat you, but unfortunately it was," Anderson said. "I can only take solace in the fact that I was able to throw a decent enough outing with my terrible stuff."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pitching with purpose: On a day the Cardinals honored the late Oscar Taveras, Martinez, who wears No. 18 as a tribute to his friend, delivered one of the best performances of his career. He struck out a career-high-tying eight, including Alex Guerrero to close the seventh on his 108th pitch. More >
"When I was in the bullpen [warming up], I started to cry because Oscar was on my mind," Martinez said. "When I went into the dugout and started to just think about, 'OK, this is an opportunity to get this win for Oscar,' I worked very hard to get my focus back and do it for him."
Costly K's: Pederson and Alberto Callaspo drew back-to-back walks off Martinez with one out in the sixth, prompting a visit to the mound by Matheny with Adrian Gonzalez waiting to hit. Martinez responded by striking out Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick to end the scoring threat.
Joltin' Jhonny: The Cardinals scored in the first inning for the seventh straight game, this time on a two-run blast by Peralta. The homer was Peralta's eighth this season, tying him with Matt Carpenter for the team lead. Peralta, who contributed an RBI single before his day was done, moved into the third spot in the order after Matt Holliday was scratched from the lineup due to illness. More >
"I tried to be aggressive," Peralta said. "[On Saturday], they threw a lot of inside pitches to me, so I tried to be aggressive today looking for that pitch. The first pitch I hit, he tried to throw inside to me but he left it over the middle of the plate, made a mistake right there."
Rosenthal makes it interesting:Trevor Rosenthal added intrigue to his 15th save of the year by walking Ethier and Yasmani Grandal with two outs in the ninth. But the drama ended when home-plate umpire Marty Foster rung up Justin Turner to end the game. Turner wasn't happy with the call, arguing with Foster after the final out. More >
"He walks two guys to bring the [go-ahead] run to the plate, and then all of the sudden we're going to give him pitches off the plate and reward the guy who doesn't know where it's going," Turner said. "Doesn't seem right."
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: The Dodgers play four games in Colorado over just three days, starting with a 5:40 p.m. PT contest on Monday when Clayton Kershaw (3-3, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound looking to build on the seven scoreless innings he threw his last time out.
Cardinals: The Cardinals open a three-game home series against the Brewers at 7:10 p.m. CT on Monday. Jaime Garcia (1-1, 3.46 ERA) will be making his third start of the season for St. Louis, which is 4-2 against the Brewers this year.