SAN FRANCISCO -- Michael Wacha is down, if not out. Jaime Garcia is down, if not out. Joe Kelly has been down for more than two months.
The Cardinals' rotation, imposing at the top with Adam Wainwright and reasonably solid in the next spot with Lance Lynn has been search of ballast.
They may be finding it in Carlos Martinez, who pitched well enough this spring to be in the rotation in the first place but has seized the moment when the aforementioned threw their respective shoes.
After being lifted from the bullpen, Martinez has made four starts. The Cardinals have won all four, even though, still rebuilding stamina, Martinez (2-3) hasn't lasted more than five innings in any of them.
But he also hasn't given up more than one run in three of the four, including Thursday's trip-wrapping 7-2 win over San Francisco. The victory brought the Cardinals dead even at 5-5 on their 10-game voyage during which they threw two shutouts but were blanked three times themselves, including a 26-inning scoreless streak.
Reaching 88 pitches, Martinez fanned six and drove in the first two runs of his career with a single past a drawn-in infield in the fourth to cap a three-run inning, helped by the Giants throwing away a double play ball, one of two such misfeasances they committed.
Martinez also survived a full-out unsuccessful dive as he tried to make a play on a bunt in the fifth inning.
Jhonny Peralta hit his 12th homer and only the 49th for the Cardinals this season to start the Cardinals off in the first against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner (9-6).
Matt Carpenter had two doubles and made a key defensive play at third base when the Giants were still in the game. He is hitting .520 (13 for 25) against the Giants this season and .519 (28 for 54) against them in his career.
Seth Maness and Jason Motte combined for three perfect innings of relief, with Motte fanning two.
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