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.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
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.

QUOTABLE
"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

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
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.

WHAT'S NEXT
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 MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com 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 Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.

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