Fowler's HR lifts Cards after C-Mart cools LA

Fowler's HR lifts Cards after C-Mart cools LA

ST LOUIS -- Carlos Martinez pitched eight innings of one-run ball and Dexter Fowler clobbered a go-ahead solo homer off Ross Stripling in the bottom of the eighth as the Cardinals snapped the Dodgers' six-game win streak Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory at Busch Stadium.

"It felt good. It felt good. Especially when a guy pitches like that. You always want to reward him," Fowler said of his clutch hit. "He kind of gave us the momentum, throwing like that."

The homer -- which traveled a projected 429 feet, according to Statcast™ -- came on a day when the offensive production was few and far between, at least until the starters left the game. Martinez delivered his seventh straight quality start, slicing his way through the Dodgers' lineup and only allowing one run in eight innings.

Fowler on go-ahead homer, win

"Carlos, he was great," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said after the game. "He's rare, and it's fun when he's all locked in."

The win brought the Cardinals (25-25) back to .500 and ended their three-game losing streak. It also offers St. Louis a chance to avoid a fifth straight series loss in Thursday's finale.

Martinez lifts the Cardinals

"We needed a win like this in a bad way," Matheny said. "A lot of the things not going the way we want, guys played clean and we needed the clean hit. … Dex came through."

Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu made one of his best starts of the season, allowing just one run in six innings in his return to the rotation.

"He did have a really good look in his eye," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Ryu. "The change was really good. He was throwing a little cutter in on right-handers and the fastball played up and it was as much velocity as we've seen this year from Hyun-Jin."

Ryu K's four vs. Cards

And it keeps getting better:
While some early trouble for Martinez came in the first inning -- he walked the leadoff batter on four pitches to start the game and allowed a single to Corey Seager before recording the first out -- he had his best stuff as the game went on. In addition to striking out four over his final two innings, Martinez was throwing harder at the end of his outing than the beginning.

Martinez's average fastball velocity topped out at 99.8 mph in the eighth, according to Statcast™. But Martinez said he didn't have any problem with his manager taking him out of the game for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the frame.

"I was waiting for Matheny to make the choice and I respected whatever choice he did," Martinez said through a translator. "And obviously it turned out great."

Martinez strands two with DP

DeJong delivers: The Cardinals got on the board first Wednesday when Tommy Pham hit a one-out single in the second inning and advanced to second on a flyout by Stephen Piscotty, who returned to the lineup after missing five games. Pham scored one at-bat later as Paul DeJong doubled to center. The run was a welcome sign for Martinez, as the play exceeded his total run support from his last two starts, which included an outing where he pitched nine shutout innings, only to see the Cardinals lose in extras.

"It was a good pitch," Roberts said. "It was a changeup, two outs, ball down in the strike zone and DeJong put a good swing on it really."

DeJong's RBI double

"He's got some of the best stuff in all of baseball. He pitches 95 to 100 [mph]. He hit 100 in the eighth inning. He's got a little change, but he's got that slider he uses, too. Third time through, he was going to his secondaries and still had the 98 to 100 in the tank. He was tough." -- Roberts on Martinez

In the top of the second inning with one out and nobody on, the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger smacked a 1-0 fastball on the edge of the zone right up the middle, which Martinez quickly snagged with his glove. The play earned a collective "ooh" from many of the 40,304 in attendance. The liner had an exit velocity of 107.5 mph, making it the hardest-hit ball on a putout by a pitcher in the Statcast™ era (2015-present). Combined with a 5-degree launch angle, the play had a 65 percent hit probability. More >

Statcast: Martinez nabs liner

Dodgers: Brandon McCarthy (5-1, 3.28 ERA), who will start for the Dodgers in Thursday's series finale at 10:45 a.m. PT, has given up just one run in his last 12 innings, including throwing six scoreless frames against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. The right-hander has not factored into a decision in three career starts against St. Louis, while posting a 4.15 ERA.

Cardinals: Right-hander Adam Wainwright (5-3, 4.20 ERA) will get the ball Thursday for the series finale against the Dodgers from Busch Stadium. Wainwright is in line to pass Larry Jackson (1955-62) for sole possession of 10th on the St. Louis all-time games pitched list with his start, with first pitch coming at 12:45 p.m. CT.

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Scott Chasen is a reporter for based in Chicago and covered the Cardinals on Wednesday.

Joe Harris is a contributor to based in St. Louis. He covered the Dodgers on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.