Martinez cruises to 4-0; Cards crush D-backs

Martinez cruises to 4-0; Cards crush D-backs

PHOENIX -- Carlos Martinez scattered three hits and fanned four over eight innings as the Cardinals beat the D-backs, 8-2, on Tuesday night at Chase Field to even the four-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time in Martinez's career that he threw eight scoreless innings, and both have come against former teammate Shelby Miller, who started for the D-backs.

"He was impressive to watch all the way through," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who was particularly impressed by what he described as a different style of pitching by Martinez this time out. "This one was making off-speed pitches whenever he wanted to and then all of a sudden he waits until almost pitch 100 to show 98 [mph]. He was locating when he needed to and made tough pitches in tough counts."

Stephen Piscotty and Brandon Moss gave Martinez (4-0) plenty of run support as the pair each hit homers and drove in three runs. Moss delivered the big blow -- a three-run shot -- to cap a five-run fifth, while Piscotty delivered a two-run blow in a three-run seventh.

"I think our team has been doing a good job of putting up good at-bats and hitting the ball hard," Piscotty said. "The big innings are certainly nice. It's great to get those crooked numbers."

Piscotty's towering shot

The D-backs could do little against Martinez throughout the night. It took them until David Peralta grounded a single to center with one out in the fourth to pick up their first hit and only twice were they able to get a runner to second base against him.

"Martinez was really, really good tonight," D-backs manager Chip Hale said.

Moss hysteria: Moss extended his hitting streak to eight games with his three-run homer to cap the Cardinals' five-run fifth. The blast, one of four hits Moss had on the night, moved him into a tie for the team lead in homers (five) and RBIs (14). It marked the third time in four at-bats with a runner in scoring position and two out that Moss answered with a home run. More >

"I'll take that because that's a stark contrast to last year when I really struggled and put a lot of pressure on myself just to hit with runners on base," Moss said. "This year I am trying to relax in those at-bats. I'm doing better. I'm seeing the ball better in those at-bats, and I've got a better approach this year."

Near miss: With one out and a runner on first and second, Piscotty hit a ball to right-center that Arizona center fielder Chris Owings tried to catch on a sliding play. The ball, though, hit Owings in the knee and kicked away, allowing a run to score and Piscotty to get a double. The inning then spiraled from there. More >

"C.O. slid and just kind of got out of position there and it hit off his body," Hale said. "We make that catch it's a different inning."

Piscotty's RBI double

Grichuk's grab: Martinez made things relatively easy on his defense Tuesday, but he did garner a nice assist from center fielder Randal Grichuk in the fifth. Grichuk nabbed a deep fly ball off the bat of Nick Ahmed with an over-the-head catch as he retreated toward the wall. The catch helped Martinez breeze through a 1-2-3, eight-pitch inning.

Grichuk's running catch

Missing early: The D-backs had a chance against Martinez in the first inning with one out when Jake Lamb was hit by a pitch and Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk. Martinez, though, got Peralta to fly out and Yasmany Tomas to line out to end the inning. They didn't know it at the time, but it would be the D-backs' best chance against him.

"Yadi [Molina] and I realized they were looking for fastballs on the first pitch, so I started throwing a lot of breaking balls, and they were swinging and missing. I realized I could work more with the breaking ball today and make outs quickly." -- Martinez, on his approach against an Arizona lineup that had tallied 18 hits in the series opener

Martinez gets out at first

Moss' home run was the ninth three-run homer the Cardinals have hit this year, more than any other team in the Majors. It represents a startling difference from last year, when the Cardinals connected for only 15 three-run blasts all season.

Cardinals: Adam Wainwright has never opened a season with five winless starts, and he'll be trying to avoid that at 8:40 pm. CT Wednesday against Arizona. Wainwright, who is 0-3 with a 7.25 ERA, hasn't faced the D-backs since May 2014.

D-backs: Patrick Corbin will get the nod Wednesday night at 6:40 p.m. MST. He has had trouble with the longball at home having allowed three homers in his two previous starts at Chase Field while not giving up one in his two road starts.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.