Martinez K's 11 as Cards pull away from Crew

Martinez K's 11 as Cards pull away from Crew

MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Martinez and the Cardinals' bullpen had their way with the Brewers' lineup Saturday, as they combined to strike out a season-high 15, while the offense erupted late in an 8-1 win at Miller Park.

Martinez matched a career high with 11 strikeouts over five innings, while reliever Tyler Lyons fanned four in 2 1/3 innings.

"I worked really hard," Martinez said. "I felt good. It wasn't as long as a game as I would have liked to have been, but I tried to stay very focused, especially with my slider."

'Electric' Martinez mows down Milwaukee

Martinez's 11-strikeout start

The 15 strikeouts were the most recorded by St. Louis in a nine-inning game since Sept. 14, 2014. Milwaukee has struck out at least 10 times in 41 of its 86 games.

Martinez escaped bases-loaded jams in the first and third to keep the Cards in front, 2-1.

"He's anywhere from 93-to-99 [mph], he's got a two-seamer with a lot of movement, a slider you just don't see too often," Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett said of Martinez. "He's got incredible stuff, and unfortunately, we weren't able to take advantage of that first inning and that was kind of the difference in the ballgame."

Jhonny Peralta got St. Louis on the board with a solo home run in the second. The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Randal Grichuk in the third and added an insurance run on a two-out RBI single by Jedd Gyorko in the eighth. St. Louis piled on with five runs off Michael Blazek in the ninth, as Tommy Pham hit a solo homer and All-Star Aledmys Diaz hit a three-run dinger.

Pham's solo homer

Brewers starter Chase Anderson needed 94 pitches to get through four innings, making it the fourth consecutive start in which he didn't go at least five innings. The struggling right-hander allowed two earned runs with five walks and five strikeouts in picking up his 10th loss.

Counsell on the pitching woes

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Insurance policy: St. Louis tallied one run to take a 3-1 lead on Gyorko's RBI single in the eighth, then blew it wide open against Blazek. Pham led off the inning by launching his third long ball of the season. Kolten Wong and Greg Garcia walked and then jaunted home on Diaz's three-run dinger to left field. This season against the Cardinals, Blazek has recorded five outs and given up eight runs. The Cards' final run came on an RBI single by catcher Alberto Rosario in his first Major League at-bat after 11 seasons in the Minors and international ball.

"I feel extremely happy," Rosario said. "It's almost unexplainable how I feel. A lot of people have taken different routes to get where I'm at and it's taken me a little longer than others, maybe, but it's just happiness and I've worked so hard for this moment."

Rosario's first career hit, RBI

Saving the day: Just when it seemed as if the Brewers were going to tie it or take the lead on a hit up the middle, Garcia made a diving stop to keep St. Louis in front. With the bases loaded and two outs in the third, Garcia ranged to his right to rob Ramon Flores. His throw was a bit off target, which meant Gyorko had to make an equally impressive play to keep his foot on the first-base bag.

Garcia's amazing diving stop

"The play Greg Garcia made in the third, that's the play of the game," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "If that ball gets through, it's two runs and definitely a different feeling game. It was early, but it was a huge play in the game."

Jhonny B. Goode: Peralta returned to the lineup with a bang after missing three straight starts with a left thumb injury. On an 0-2 fastball from Anderson to lead off the second, the veteran infielder deposited it for his fourth homer to put St. Louis up, 1-0.

Peralta's solo home run

Squandering a chance: The Brewers brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate in the eighth in the form of All-Star Jonathan Lucroy, but Cardinals reliever Matt Bowman induced an inning-ending double play. Lyons issued consecutive one-out walks to Chris Carter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, which led Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to turn to Bowman. Counsell countered by pinch-hitting Lucroy, who fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches before hitting into a double play.

Bowman ends the scoring threat

"The story really was Tyler Lyons and then Matt Bowman coming in," Matheny said. "Tyler going two-plus [innings] with real good stuff and got us to the point where Bowman gets the double play that he needed. Then the offense took off."

QUOTABLE
"I thought he was going to forget to run." -- Matheny, on a jubilant Rosario after his first Major League hit

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With two steals en route to scoring the Brewers' lone run on a Nieuwenhuis RBI single in the third, Jonathan Villar expanded his league-leading stolen base total to 31. Villar became the third player in franchise history to steal at least 30 bases before the All-Star break, joining Scott Podsednik (34 in 2004) and Tommy Harper (44 in 1969). Milwaukee stole four bases off catcher Yadier Molina, tying his career high for most stolen bases allowed in a game.

Villar's 30th stolen base

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals challenged the ruling on the field that Gennett kept his foot on the base while turning an inning-ending double play in the third. After a one-minute, 54-second review, the call on the field was overturned as replay showed Gennett's foot was off the base when receiving the feed from the shortstop Villar.

"That's something you can work on in practice, but come game time, you're not thinking about that kind of stuff; you're thinking about catching the ball, throwing the ball and getting out of the way of the guy coming in," Gennett said. "Those are things we have to adjust to with the way the game is evolving.

Grichuk safe at second

"It would be nice if they would adjust the rule a little bit more on the foot coming off the base in a direction other than up. I think as long as you're over the base, in a sense, you're on the base. It's not trying to cheat or anything like that. I guess I was off the base for as split-second. The 4K-1080p got me again. I need to make that a priority and I will."

WHAT'S NEXT
Cardinals: St. Louis will wrap up the first half Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT and look to take the series behind starter Mike Leake. The right-hander has dropped each of his past three starts and is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA vs. the Brewers this season.

Brewers: Junior Guerra will look to continue his run of strong starts when he takes the mound for the series finale against the Cardinals on Sunday. The 31-year-old rookie has a 0.81 ERA over his past three starts. Guerra allowed three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings against St. Louis on May 30.

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Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Brewers on Saturday.

Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. He covered the Cardinals on Saturday.

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