Carlos Martinez’s teammates greeted the pitcher with hugs and handshakes following his eight innings of work at Miller Park.
After a tough couple weeks, the young right-hander ended May on a high note.
Martinez struck out eight in a crisp performance and Matt Carpenter had four hits, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.
After giving up at least four runs in each of his three previous starts, Martinez rebounded nicely with another masterful outing against Milwaukee. Entering Monday, he had a 1.34 ERA in 15 career games, including four starts, against the Brewers.
"It was a mental adjustment, not mechanics or physically. I think I have control of that," Martinez said through an interpreter. "It is just knowing when to place the ball."
Martinez allowed five singles and walked one. Trevor Rosenthal finished the five-hitter.
"That was phenomenal," manager Mike Matheny said about Martinez. "He can be as dominating as anybody in the game when he puts it all together."
Carpenter sparked the offense from the leadoff spot. He even scored from second in the seventh after catcher Jonathan Lucroy lost track of a wild pitch by Jhan Marinez that trickled to the backstop.
The Cardinals never trailed after building a 3-0 lead in the third off Junior Guerra (3-1), who allowed eight hits and three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. St. Louis capitalized on some questionable Milwaukee defense in the third.
"They were kind of ‘woulda-coulda-shoulda’ plays but certainly not routine plays," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "The way Martinez was pitching, we pretty much needed to make every play today."
The top of the third included a throwing error and passed ball for the Brewers. Another run scored when Alex Presley, who was wearing sunglasses, couldn’t get to a towering fly by Matt Adams to the warning track in left on a sunny afternoon.
The ball fell to the dirt for an RBI double. Presley said the ball had drifted and fell just behind him and to his right.
Martinez had more than enough support against a team that he has dominated through his four-year career, including a 0.59 ERA in three starts in 2015. The fastball topped at about 98 mph, and Martinez mixed in a curveball, slider and changeup.
"He does a good job of mixing pitches even though he has good velocity," Presley said. "He can get you off balance, and just called an unpredictable-type game at times. With his stuff, it’s a tough combo."
The top four hitters in the Cardinals’ lineup accounted for 10 of the team’s 12 hits. Third-place hitter Matt Holliday was 3 for 4 with three RBIs, including a 466-foot homer in the seventh off Marinez that landed in the top row of the bleachers in left.
"We put traffic out there. We put pressure on them to make pitches and guys came through with the big hits when we needed them," Matheny said.
Cardinals: OF Stephen Piscotty missed the game with a stomach bug. "He got some bad food last night, or something zapped him," manager Mike Matheny said. ... SS Jhonny Peralta (left thumb) needed stitches after cutting a finger on his right hand with a knife during his rehab assignment Saturday night at Double-A Springfield. Peralta might miss another couple days.
Brewers: LF Ryan Braun (sore neck) missed a second straight game. The Brewers’ best hitter also has been bothered by soreness in his lower back and right wrist this season. ... LHP Will Smith (right knee) was scheduled to return to Milwaukee on Monday night from his rehab stint in the minors. He could be activated on Thursday when the team opens a four-game series in Philadelphia.
Cardinals: The team is scoring 5.25 runs a game in the last four starts of RHP Mike Leake (3-4) after averaging 3.7 runs over his first six outings.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta (3-5) is 4-9 with a 5.00 ERA in 14 career starts against St. Louis.