ST. LOUIS -- The focus wasn't on Nick Greenwood coming in, no. The focus was on Carlos Martinez, the enigma, the mystery, the phenom, the flamethrower, whatever. Martinez was to start for the first time since last August and the second time in his career, and he pitched well, allowing just an unearned run in four innings.
Greenwood, making his major league debut, relieved Martinez in the fifth to comparatively little fanfare, and not nearly as much allure. By the time he was done, he walked off the mound to a standing ovation. He proved that everyone was looking in the wrong direction.
Greenwood earned his first major league win by tossing 31/3 innings of near flawless relief. He retired the first ten Mets he faced before allowing back to back hits in the top of the eighth. One of those runners scored when Chris Young singled off Randy Choate, but by then Cardinal victory was well in the bag.
Greenwood navigated the Cardinals through the vital middle innings as they beat the Mets 6-2.
Where Martinez flung his 99 mile-per-hour fastball, Greenwood messaged his, which sat between 86-88 miles per hour but proved just as effective. The Mets are one of the worst offensive teams in the National League, and they couldn't figure out either strategy. Hard-throwing righty, soft-tossing lefty. Both baffled New York.
Martinez threw 59 pitches, one less than his intended maximum, and allowed two hits over four innings. He struck out three and walked four, one intentional, on his way to maneuvering out of jams in the third and fourth innings.
He retired the first six Mets he faced before allowing an unearned run in the third. But Martinez wiggled out of a first and third situation to avoid further damage. He walked two men and allowed a double in the fourth, but struck out Eric Young Jr. on a slider to escape the jam.
Martinez left with a 2-1 lead.
Once Greenwood came in, the Cardinal offense started piling on.
Four consecutive hits led to four fifth inning runs. Matt Holliday hit an RBI single. Allen Craig followed with a run-scoring double. Then Matt Adams tripled into the right field corner, scoring Craig. Yadier Molina walked before Jhonny Peralta's single brought home another run.
Six batters, and the Cardinals were up 6-1.
Jay finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored in his return to the No.2 spot in the lineup. The centerfielder's swing has helped him find more regular playing time, and he continues to swing. Jay's now hitting .371 in June and has hit in 10 of his last 11 games.
Craig and Adams both drove in two runs. Seth Maness threw 1.1 innings of shutout relief for his second career save and first this season.
The Cardinals have now won four in a row and seven of eight
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