It was on Tuesday night that the St. Louis Cardinals had snapped their two game losing streak, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 11-5, in what was their biggest win score-wise all season thus far.
On Wednesday night, they looked to build off the previous evening’s win.
The match-up on the mound featured 23-year old Carlos Martinez on the mound for the Cardinals, and 36-year old Aaron Harang on the mound for the Phillies. Martinez started the game with a 1-2-3 inning of Ben Revere, Odubel Herrera, and Chase Utley. Harang would have a 1-2-3 first inning of his own, as Peter Bourjos flew out, Matt Carpenter, arguably the hottest hitter in Major League Baseball, would strike out, and Matt Holliday grounded out to second.
Excellent defense by the Cardinals, namely Kolten Wong, helped Martinez early in the top of the second. While he allowed a base hit to Cody Asche, catcher Carlos Ruiz grounded out to end the inning.
Matt Adams led off the bottom of the second with a double that went off the center field wall, as Jhonny Peralta followed with a ground-out. With one out, Adams would advance to third after a single by right fielder Jason Heyward. Harang would get Yadier Molina to pop-out in the infield, and with two outs, Wong would put the Cardinals on the board first, with an RBI single scoring Adams.
After two innings, St. Louis had a 1-0 lead over Philadelphia.
Martinez, through his first 25 pitches, had thrown 20 strikes, and allowing only three hits, having strong command on the mound.
In the top of the fourth inning, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard hit a ball deep to right field, that just barely went over the wall, and was on the verge of being robbed by Heyward. The home run was Howard’s fourth of the season, and tied the game at 1-1. It was also Howard’s 20th career home run against the Cardinals.
The game started to become a pitcher’s duel between the 14-year pro Harang, and the three-year pro Martinez.
During the top of the fifth, with one out and runners at second and third, Herrera would hit a double to right field scoring Harang, but Heyward would launch the ball to Molina, who would catch Revere in a pickle, and would get him out (with help from Peralta).
St. Louis, however, would answer to the one-run deficit. Wong started with a single, and advanced to second on a Martinez sacrifice bunt. Bourjos then tripled to right, scoring Wong, and tying the game at 2-2. Carpenter grounded into a fielder’s choice at first, but Howard’s throw to home was not in time to catch the fast Bourjos, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead with one out.
Holliday walked, putting Adams at the plate with two on, and he would take full advantage, hitting a double down left field, scoring Carpenter. With the final run for St. Louis in the fifth, Peralta scored Holliday on a single.
Heading into the sixth inning, instead of it being 2-1 Phillies, it suddenly was 5-2 Cardinals, and Martinez went back to work, for his final inning of work, another shutout inning pitched by the young right-hander.
The final line on the evening for Martinez: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (88 pitches/56 strikes).
After an out by Wong, Mark Reynolds entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Martinez, and he would strike out. Bourjos then hit a single that brought up Carpenter with two outs. Bourjos, however, would be caught stealing before Carpenter could bat, ending the inning.
Reliever Kevin Siegrist pitched a shutout seventh inning, as the Cardinals went into the bottom of the seventh leading 5-2. Dustin McGowan was the relief pitcher in the bottom of the seventh, who, much like Siegrist the half inning prior, did not allow a run. For the Cardinals, Jordan Walden substituted for Siegrist, and pitched a shutout eighth inning.
With the score still 5-2 Cardinals in the top of the ninth inning, closer Trevor Rosenthal (who had seven saves out of seven tries prior to Wednesday) entered the game to try and get his eighth save of the season.
And for the first time this season, Rosenthal actually had a dramatic save attempt.
After getting out Carlos Ruiz and Freddy Galvis, Grady Sizemore would get a two out base hit, then Revere walked, but Herrera struck out, as the game finally ended.
St. Louis won the game 5-2, as Martinez picked up his third win of the season, and the Cardinals improved to 14-6. As for the last place Phillies, they drop to 8-14, and Harang loses his second game on the year.
This ties the four game series at one game apiece.
Tomorrow, rookie Tim Cooney will make his debut for the St. Louis Cardinals, as they look to take three out of four in the series.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)