Martinez Dazzles in Houston
HOUSTON (AP) — It’s all going wrong at once for the Houston Astros.
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, Astros right-hander Doug Fister had another tough start and St. Louis beat Houston 8-2 on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to play better if we expect to make a push here,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “The big numbers we’ve given up are obviously not helpful. On the offensive side, the more that we swing outside of the strike zone to try to do too much, we see some rough things. It’s a tough league, tough schedule, and if we want to make a point of this season being a little more memorable, we need to be better.”
Fister has allowed four or more runs five times in his past 10 starts after reaching that mark once in his first 14 outings this season.
“It was a disappointing day,” Fister said. “Any loss is a tough loss to swallow. I felt good today. I felt strong, I felt in control, but they put a few good swings on balls, and the ball bounced their way today.”
Alex Bregman drove in Teoscar Hernandez with a single in the sixth. The rookie has seven RBIs in the last 11 games and is batting .312 in that time.
Houston has been outscored 29-11 during a four-game losing streak and surrendered eight or more runs in three straight games for the first time this season.
“We have confidence in the group of guys that we have here,” Astros shortstop Carlos Correa said. “We know we can get it done, and hopefully, we can do that for the rest of the year.
Jeremy Hazelbaker and Brandon Moss hit home runs, and the Cardinals have won four straight. They have a slim lead for the second NL wild-card spot over the Pirates and Marlins.
Martinez (11-7) pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, allowing a run while striking out seven. He retired 15 of the first 16 batters before giving up a leadoff double to Hernandez in the sixth. Martinez leads St. Louis pitchers with 11 starts of seven or more innings.
“Every day I go out on the hill focused on my work and ready to go through nine innings hopefully,” Martinez said. “Some days there’s bad days, some days there’s good days like today I stayed focused and I felt really good. I feel like it’s just part of the game and I went out and did the best I could.”
Martinez had allowed 14 runs over his previous three starts.
“He’s been impressive,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “I enjoy watching guys improve. When you see him pitch like that and maintain like that that’s improvement.”
St. Louis is averaging 7.5 runs per game during this winning streak and began its offensive frenzy Wednesday in the third inning against starter Doug Fister.
Eight Cardinals batted in the three-run third, highlighted by Stephen Piscotty’s two-run single and Yadier Molina’s RBI double.
Hazelbaker bashed a 3-2 pitch from Fister in the fourth for his first home run since July 29. Moss blew it open in the seventh with a three-run homer off Tony Sipp.
Moss has hit four home runs in his last six games, while leading the Cardinals with 22.
“Seems like everybody discounted everything he did before he got to us,” Matheny said. “That was a bunch of homers. Then he comes over smoking the ball and not getting anything for it. You could just see where he was trending and where he continues to trend. This guy’s got legitimate big power.”
St. Louis has 49 home runs since the All-Star break to lead the National League.
CLICK the audio player above to hear the Big Sports Show break down the Cards 4th straight win.