Offense races out to another fast start

Holliday's first-inning HR gives Martinez early support

Offense races out to another fast start

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' offense has come out swinging during its season-opening homestand. The Cardinals have scored at least three runs in the first inning of three of the four games. In Thursday's game, the Cardinals scored three in the second inning after being shut out in the first.

True to form, the Cardinals scored four in the first Friday night en route to a 14-3 thrashing of the Cincinnati Reds. The latest first-inning salvo featured a three-run homer from Matt Holliday.

"Helps our pitching for sure," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Helps them settle in. I like the way [Matt Carpenter] leads it off with a walk, [Jeremy] Hazelbaker goes for a walk. Made them pay, obviously, with Holliday's big swing." 

The four runs were all starter Carlos Martinez (2-0) needed. The right-hander pitched seven strong innings, with the only blemish being a three-run home run to Joey Votto in the third.

"I feel like I was attacking the zone really early, the hitters were swinging early in the count so I could get out with not too many pitches," Martinez said through an interpreter.

Martinez has enjoyed 26 runs of support from his offense in two starts this season.

"[I] know what kind of team that we have," Martinez said. "It doesn't matter what happens, they are going to compete."

Matheny was pleased with how Martinez protected the early lead.

"Votto, was amazing how the ball jumped there for him," Matheny said. "He's got big power and can hurt you, and the ball got up a little more than Carlos wanted. After that, he found a real nice rhythm. I wouldn't even say it was his sharpest day, still was working hard at time to find his rhythm, but overall a really good outing."

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.