ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals issued a reminder to the Cubs that they are not conceding the National League Central. Matt Holliday belted a two-run homer and Carlos Martinez helped himself by hitting an RBI single to lead St. Louis to a 5-3 victory over Chicago on Wednesday to avoid being swept.
"I love having this kind of emotion on a daily basis," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the rivalry between the two teams. "It's good for you as a person, as a player. I know the fans are into it. I love the competitive nature in the game. It's healthy."
Martinez remained unbeaten in his career against the Cubs, striking out five over seven innings and allowing just three hits, including Anthony Rizzo's fourth home run, to improve to 3-0 for the season.
"I was able to make some of my pitches and I feel great," Martinez said through an interpreter. "I feel the way that I attacked the strike zone, it really helped me, and I was focused just to throw a good game and give my team a chance."
Kyle Hendricks said he had a tough time commanding his sinker, and took the loss. He was lifted after 5 1/3 innings to end the Cubs' starting pitchers' season-long streak of going at least six innings. Chicago starters had gone at least six frames in each of the first 14 games, the first time that had happened since 1910.
"I blew it -- it's out the window," Hendricks said of not keeping the streak alive. "I didn't want to be the guy. We're always trying to keep the line moving. We'll start a new streak tomorrow."
Rain interrupted play prior to the bottom of the seventh inning, and the game resumed after a delay of three hours and 21 minutes.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Robbing Rizzo: Cardinals center fielder Randal Grichuk made a leaping catch over the left-center-field wall in the first inning to prevent Rizzo from putting the Cubs on top with what would have been a two-run homer. The catch loomed large after the Cubs scored two runs in the eighth inning, cutting the Cardinals' lead to one run at the time. More >
No-doubter: Rizzo made sure nobody could catch the ball he hit leading off the fourth inning. He launched the first pitch from Martinez, a 94-mph fastball, to right field, and, according to Statcast™, it was the hardest-hit home run ever by Rizzo, registering a 111.3-mph exit velocity. His previous high was 110.8 mph on Sept. 4, 2015. The homer also ended an 0-for-10 stretch.
"After Grichuk made that play, I kind of exhaled," Rizzo said. "I thought, 'That's got to be it, that's got to be the end.'"
Told the home run registered as his hardest-hit home run, Rizzo smiled.
"I hit it really well," he said. "And I swung probably the easiest I swung all year. It's funny how this game works."
Deuces wild: After scoring one run in the previous 18 innings, the Cardinals jumped on the Cubs with two runs in both the first and second innings. Holliday's two-run home run in the first got the Cardinals started. Yadier Molina doubled and scored on a wild pitch, and Martinez singled home Kolten Wong in the second to give the Cardinals the early 4-0 lead. More >
"Definitely gave me a lot of confidence, because I went out there and I did my part," Martinez said. "It's always exciting when you see the guys responding offensively, because in my case it gives me more of an opportunity to relax and go out there and have a good outing."
Late night: The plus side to the lengthy rain delay for the Cubs was that Martinez was done for the day. In the eighth, Dexter Fowler greeted Seung Hwan Oh with a leadoff single and Jason Heyward then walked. One out later, Fowler scored on Rizzo's single, and Kris Bryant was safe on a fielder's choice as Rizzo was forced out at second base. Heyward scored on the play, much to the delight of the Cubs fans who stayed at Busch Stadium, waiting for play to resume. The runs were the first off Oh in eight games.
"Everybody was ready to play, everybody wanted to play, nobody shut the switch off," Maddon said of the Cubs' attitude after the delay. "Beyond winning two out of three [in the series], that was the part that was most impressive." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth to earn career save No. 100. He became the fifth Cardinal to reach the 100-save mark, following Jason Isringhausen (217), Lee Smith (160), Todd Worrell (129) and Bruce Sutter (127). Last season, Rosenthal set the Cardinals' single-season save record with 48.
"In this organization, the names that are up there and the guys that are up there to have done it, to be a part of that and to be a part of a great history with the Cardinals and the fact that they've given me the opportunity to be here, I'm very thankful that they trust in me and they continue to let me go out there and pitch," Rosenthal said.
In the second, the Cubs challenged a call that Matt Carpenter was safe at first on a fielder's choice after a 3-6-1 relay, which forced a runner at second. After review, the call was overturned, and Carpenter was out on the back end of a double play to end the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs: Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta (3-0) will face the Reds on Thursday in the first game of a four-game series in Cincinnati. Arrieta went 1-1 vs. the Reds last year, giving up five earned runs, with both games in April. That's more runs than he gave up in the last two months of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.
Cardinals:Adam Wainwright (0-2) will get the start as the Cardinals begin a seven-game road trip at San Diego on Friday at 9:40 p.m. CT. Wainwright has struggled with his command this season, but he is 6-2 with a 1.74 ERA in 11 career appearances against the Padres.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.