Martinez shows off ace-caliber stuff

Martinez shows off ace-caliber stuff

PITTSBURGH -- The Cardinals' pitching resurgence continued with a solid outing from right-hander Carlos Martinez in a 5-1 win over the Pirates on Saturday night at PNC Park.

Martinez tossed 8 1/3 innings, giving up one run on six hits and recording five strikeouts. He improved his record to 7-5 with a 3.46 ERA in notching his third straight win.

"There really haven't been any big changes," Martinez said. "I'm just really trying to stay focused. I really make small adjustments to my pitching, and other than that it's just trying to stay focused."

The Cardinals have won four series in a row thanks in part to good pitching, and Martinez has been a key cog in the surge.

"He's got impressive stuff," manager Mike Matheny said. "It doesn't surprise us. It's just trying to keep him in a good consistent place all game long, and it's just part of being a young pitcher. He looked terrific tonight."

"Everybody knows that he's got top two or three stuff in the league," said outfielder Matt Holliday, who hit a three-run homer in Saturday's victory. "[He was throwing] 97, 98 [mph] in the eighth inning with 120 pitches, and he's got two-plus offspeed pitches. He's got Cy Young-caliber stuff, and we've seen it over and over. If he stays away from the one inning or a mistake here or there, he's got ace-caliber stuff."

George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.