CINCINNATI • For a team that seeks to sweep a hapless adversary and flex the many and varied ways in which he needs to win to answer, he helped the Cardinals on Sunday to have a pitcher with many, varied and frankly Ways Evil to leave.
Carlos Martinez pitched seven innings without allowing runs, struck out 11, and, in a 3-2 victory against Cincinnati at the Great American Ball Park, showed a series of pitches that left his teammates and coaches looking for ways to describe them.
Releases had more movement than adjectives.
"Top shelf," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "He can do things with the ball that a lot of people can not." Not only is it difficult to hit, it is difficult to catch. The ball flies. He has life on the high straight, the fourth marshal. He has a lot of bottom in the sinker. Your cutter has jumped on him. The slider has depth, width. And it mixes into a curved ball every once in a while and you say: "What was that? & # 39; His change: when it goes well is as good as anyone's "
The Cardinals' bullpen, still backed by Bud Norris as he approached, allowed two homers but Norris held on to the ninth to complete a four-game sweep of the Reds The Cardinals had not taken a sweep of four Reds games in Cincinnati since July 10, 1949, two days before baseball received the 16th All-Star Game at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.
warning that same week.  Harrison Bader got Martinez into an early lead with a two-run homer to Homer Bailey (0-3), and the Reds did not dent the score until Martinez gave him a 3-3 advantage 0 to the bullpen The first batter Tyler Lyons faced, Billy Hamilton, homered Adam Duvall opened the ninth inning against Norris with a home run, and a strange play at first base put the tie at second base. nhart tried to steal a hit with a touch. His shoulder collided with the hand of José Martínez's glove near the first one. Martinez walked away with obvious pain, although he remained in the game and the X-rays at the baseball stadium did not show a fracture.
The Reds challenged the outcome of the play, because in the chaos of the collision the ball had entered contact with a part of the stadium that was out of bounds. After a review of 1 minute and 50 seconds, Barnhart was given second base, as the tied race. Norris kept the runner there.
The Reds, staggering at 2-13 and beating manager Bryan Price on the board, allowed the Cardinals to spend the weekend getting drunk in races, in quality starts, in wins. One of the worst offenses based on the average and worst pitching staff based on ERA, the Reds were as trustworthy as a "Applause" sign for what the Cardinals tried. They won a game with a big offense, scoring 13 runs on Thursday. They maintained a closer game with Norris as closer on Friday. They have the substitute scene thief when Greg Garcia hit two homers on Sunday.
Martinez (2-1) scored the series with the 10th caregiver double-digit punch game. For the first time this season, the Cardinals got a third consecutive start in quality. The holders won all four games of the series, had a 2.16 ERA in their stay in Queen City, and allowed 15 hits in 25 innings.
"Those are many weapons to play with," said Matheny.
It was referring to Martinez, but his team also showed something.
The end of the series was delayed 2 hours, 36 minutes by rain, and it took almost all that time to play, at 2:40. Martinez spent most of his time in the players' room, sharing a sofa and music with Yairo Muñoz. Matheny gave him updates on possible start times, and Martinez nodded, seldom moving. Martinez said his goal was to "stay calm." He kept some salsa music and while the delay continued he turned to the country.
"That's it," he said. "Just everything quiet."
In the first innings, the ball was wet with persistent rain, and he never felt that he had had much control over his new pitch, a fast cut ball. It was not long before I had everything else. From the second to the sixth inning, Martinez made a stretch of 15 sticks and allowed a ball out of the box. He struck eight in that span. At one point he struck out four consecutive batters, each in a pitch that left them swinging clumsily, or not at all. He lifted a fast ball of 96.6 miles per hour to finish the quarter with a strikeout, and then struck out in the fifth inning. The Pitch F / x data called every strikeout pitch to slider, although its change may have confused it.
At times, Martinez could throw three different pitches with three different moves and a speed between 82 mph and 86 mph. He purposely gave the change two different types of movements, one that almost resembles a screwball.
"It has an excavation, it escapes left-handed people, right-wingers," said Maddux. "From the side, you do not know if it was a change or a slider, sometimes you do not know."
He said: "Here's a guy who came out throwing 95-100 mph and was between 89-95, 96. Different arm angles, different speeds, different forms of his break pitches, different moves and action. Young in the lineup, and he was too much for us. "
The Reds 'last upset led the Cardinals' first season win, one that set many small moments around the overwhelming Martinez. Bader's home run was his first big league shot to the opposite field. It has been an emphasis for him after seeing last year how "that outer half was where they hit me the most, in my opinion". With the guidance of Yadier Molina, Martinez approached Barnhart in the first few innings to be able to attack the most malleable batters at the end of the order. In the seventh, Martinez doubled and Molina followed with the Cardinals only at bat with a runner in scoring position on Sunday.
Made the start of the race simple, which turned out to be the winner.
In the ninth, Hamilton had a chance to tie the game, but before Norris' final pitch, Willie McGee made Bader get closer to the left field line. That put him in a position to catch Hamilton's line.
"Willie reads the changes very little," Bader said.
Matheny expects the team to read what this series showed them.
"I just try to make the kids feel good" about their changes, feeling good about this club, "Matheny said." There are many reasons why you should do it. "You need to have some success to make that happen in the level you want. "