The St. Louis Cardinals are starting to show more life.
With their big 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night, not only did the Cardinals win for the sixth time in their last seven games, but they also improve to a season-high six games over .500 and win their fourth straight series.
Carlos Martinez (7-5) got the start against Francisco Liriano (4-6), who has a history of performing well against the Cardinals. He also was pitching on extra rest, as it marked his first start since June 3rd. Despite that, he still dropped to 1-5 in his last six outings. The veteran left-hander gave up four runs (all of which were unearned) and four hits in six innings, to go along with eight strikeouts and three walks.
In the top of the first inning, Liriano was able to get out of a bases loaded jam, but it came at a price as he threw nearly 30 pitches. It was only the beginning of what would become a long night for Liriano.
St. Louis, coming off the heels of a huge 9-3 victory on Friday night, broke the game wide open in the top of the fifth inning. It started when Brandon Moss doubled (later advancing to third after a wild pitch). He scored after Jedd Gyorko reached first base on a passed ball during a strikeout. Two batters later, with Aledmys Diaz on base as well, Matt Holliday hit a three-run home run to make it 4-0.
For Moss, it was his fifth straight multi-hit game. For Holliday, it was his 10th home run of the season.
Later, Jhonny Peralta hit an RBI-single in the seventh. Pittsburgh’s lone run came at the hands of a Josh Harrison sacrifice fly.
One player who continued to improve his statistics against the Cardinals was Starling Marte. With three hits on Saturday, he improved to 14-34 (.412) against St. Louis this season.
On the mound, Martinez threw 122 pitches as he had looked to notch his first career complete game. He struck out five and walked three in 8 1/3 innings. Closer Trevor Rosenthal entered the game to get the final two outs of the evening.
St. Louis will look to sweep Pittsburgh on Sunday with Mike Leake on the mound. Leake is 7-1 in his last 16 starts at Pittsburgh, dating to Sept. 11, 2012. Jon Niese will start for Pittsburgh.