LOS ANGELES (AP) — Carlos Martinez overcame an early bout of wildness before straightening himself out. After that, the Los Angeles Dodgers couldn't straighten out any of the pitches he threw over the plate.
Martinez out-pitched Brett Anderson again during their second low-scoring duel in six days, and the St. Louis Cardinals scratched across a pair of runs in the eighth inning to beat the Dodgers 2-1 Friday night.
"Both guys were on their game tonight," Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward said. "Carlos kept us in the game the whole way, and that's huge. Our pitching has been awesome for us. And when your pitcher's throwing well, you feel like you can come back and win."
Martinez (6-2) allowed his only run in the second on a bases-loaded walk to power-hitting rookie Joc Pederson. The right-hander gave up three hits and had a career-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings while helping the Cardinals lower their major league-best ERA to 2.57.
"Our hitters aren't going to have their best games every night, so it definitely helps when your pitcher's throwing like this in this type of environment against this type of team," Heyward said.
Last Sunday, Martinez held the Dodgers to one hit over seven innings and struck out eight in a 3-1 victory over Anderson, which followed an emotional pregame tribute to Martinez's late teammate and best friend Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a car accident in October.
This time, Anderson (2-4) allowed two runs and four hits in 7 2-3 innings.
"I'm just giving us a chance with quality starts," Anderson said. "I did a good job until the eighth. There were some kind of fluky plays there. We expect these games to be close and competitive. So far they have been, we just haven't been on the right side."
The Cardinals, with the best record in the majors at 37-18, were held to a pair of harmless singles over the first seven innings and failed to get a runner in scoring position until everything unraveled for Anderson in the eighth.
Yadier Molina drew a leadoff walk, Heyward followed with an infield single and Tony Cruz advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt while batting for Martinez.
Kolten Wong was credited with a tying RBI single when Anderson failed to cover first base on a grounder to Adrian Gonzalez wide of the bag. Matt Carpenter drove in Heyward with a sacrifice fly on Anderson's 88th and final pitch.
Trevor Rosenthal, the fourth St. Louis pitcher, got three outs for his 18th save in 19 attempts to secure the Cardinals' fourth straight win and 10th in 12 games.
Martinez, who hadn't allowed a run in his previous three starts spanning 20 1-3 innings, gave up two walks and two singles in the second when the Dodgers scored their run. After the walk to Pederson, Martinez minimized the damage by retiring Jimmy Rollins on a double-play grounder — two pitches after getting a visit from pitching coach Derek Lilliquist.
"The second inning was a little bit of a mess that could have turned out really bad, but he made some good pitches. That was really the only inning that he had any kind of hiccups," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It was just another really good outing for him, and quite a test."
The Dodgers did not get another baserunner until Gonzalez drew a leadoff walk in the sixth. Martinez struck out the next three batters.
"He's a great pitcher," Pederson said. "He's got good velocity and good off-speed pitches that he located well. You've got to be patient, waiting for your pitch and put a good swing on it, but we didn't swing the bats."
(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
for more features.