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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

Cardinals’ Lynn right at home in victory over Diamondbacks

By Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange | Jul 31, 2017

ST. LOUIS — Having scored only two runs in their previous 30 innings as they entered the bottom of the fourth inning Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals were badly in need of an offensive spark.

Jose Martinez lit the fuse.

Martinez’s two-run homer in the fourth tied the game and his sacrifice fly in the sixth untied it as St. Louis rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals (52-53) managed a split of the four-game series despite scoring only five runs.

“Against this team, it’s pretty good,” Martinez said. “Splitting 2-2 will give us a good day off.”

Manager Mike Matheny noted after Saturday night’s 7-1 loss to Arizona that he hadn’t deployed Martinez as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning because he wanted to save him for the late innings against one of the Diamondbacks’ harder throwers.

Taijuan Walker (6-5) certainly fits that description with a fastball that has touched 100 mph during his career, so Martinez got the call in the series finale. When Walker left a 2-1 cutter out over the plate with one on and one out in the fourth, Martinez drilled it into the right field seats.

The 381-foot blast was Martinez’s seventh of the year in 135 at-bats.

“I was thinking he was going to try and throw that cutter again,” Martinez said. “I got it elevated and put a good swing on it, and it went out.”

Two innings later, Martinez got another crack at Walker with Jedd Gyorko at third and Yadier Molina at first after a one-out walk and single, respectively. With a 1-2 count, Walker tried to beat Martinez high and away again.

While Martinez didn’t find the seats this time, his fly ball carried almost to the warning track, enabling Gyorko to score without a throw home.

“He was our offense today,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez. “It’s a tough role to be consistent in. We never have to worry about his energy. He has a great presence, even when he’s not in the lineup.”

Martinez made a winner of Lance Lynn (9-6) in what could be his final start with the Cardinals. Lynn, the subject of persistent trade rumors.

over the last week, lasted six innings, allowing four hits and two runs with five walks and three strikeouts. He retired the last eight hitters he faced.

In his last five starts, Lynn has permitted four runs over 31 1/3 innings, winning three and losing none.

“I’ve told you guys all along that I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “So I’m not worried about it. What’s there to worry about if I don’t control it?”

Four relievers picked up the last nine outs, with Trevor Rosenthal striking out the side on 12 pitches in the ninth for his sixth save.

Walker fanned 10, one off his season high, in 5 2/3 innings, yielding four hits and three runs while issuing three walks.

Arizona (60-45) scored its runs in the second, when Lynn labored through 38 pitches. Chris Iannetta delivered a sacrifice fly and pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso drew Lynn’s fourth walk of the inning with the bases loaded.

Descalso was batting for second baseman Chris Owings, who fouled off Lynn’s first pitch and broke the index finger of his right hand. It appears Owings will miss a significant amount of time.

“It’s tough,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said of Owings’ injury. “He’s one of the guys we turn to for leadership. He’s helped us get to where we are now.”

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