NEW YORK -- The Yankees did enough against an uncharacteristically wild Carlos Martinez to support a stellar start from Carsten Sabathia and extend their winning streak to six games with Saturday's 3-2 victory over the Cardinals at Yankee Stadium.
The afternoon started in odd fashion, with the Yankees not putting a ball in play until Martinez's 62nd pitch. By then, New York had drawn six walks, struck out six times and taken a 1-0 lead. The run scored on a Martinez wild pitch, the first of two errant throws he'd make that led directly to runs.
"I don't think I've ever seen anything like that," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez's 5 1/3-inning start. "When he found the zone, he was electric. But he had trouble staying in it. Amazing that he got into the sixth like he did, as deep as he went, with that many free bases."
But while Martinez spent the afternoon vacillating between walks and strikeouts (he finished with eight and 11, respectively), Sabathia was in command from the start. He lowered his season ERA to 1.47 and held the Cardinals to two singles before Jedd Gyorko took him deep with one out in the seventh.
"CC pretty much had everything going," Yankees third baseman Chase Headley said. "He was attacking the strike zone, but getting strikeouts when he needed them and getting early outs."
Stephen Piscotty's homer in the ninth wasn't enough for the Cardinals to complete a comeback, and they fell to 3-8 on the season, as a result. It matched the organization's worst 11-game start in the Wild Card era.
In contrast, the Yankees have raced out to their first 5-0 start at home since 2000.
Asked if keeping the winning streak going was on his mind, Sabathia replied "you never want to be the guy. You know how well guys have been pitching and how well we've been playing. We want to keep that going. It was my goal today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gone wild: Martinez was erratic from the get-go, as he needed 37 pitches to navigate through a first inning in which he walked four. The Yankees were gifted their first run on Martinez's second wild pitch of the season.
"I think that my sinkers were too low and I didn't have control of them," Martinez said, speaking through a translator. "And since this is a small field, small ballpark, I wanted to throw sinkers. I just couldn't get it in the strike zone."
Lost in the sky: After stranding 10 runners in the first five innings, the Yankees took advantage of missed fly ball to score two insurance runs in the sixth. Left fielder Randal Grichuk couldn't track a popup by Ronald Torreyes, and the ball fell between Grichuk, center fielder William Fowler and shortstop Aledmys Diaz for a double. Grichuk had a catch probability of 99 percent on the play, according to Statcast™. The catch probability for Fowler (94 percent) was nearly as high.
"A lot of things we have to clean up, that's all there is to it. We made it very clear about wanting to play cleaner defense. Making a couple errors when you're not scoring a lot of runs, they stand out. Yeah, it hasn't been quite what we were hoping to see yet. That doesn't mean that's the team we're destined to be. -- Matheny
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees became the first team since at least 1961 to begin the game without a ball put in play over the team's first 12 plate appearances. Over that stretch on Saturday, the Yanks drew six walks and struck out six times.
Cardinals pitchers recorded 17 strikeouts in a nine-inning game for the fifth time since 1913. This was the first time since 1970 that they lost such a game.
Yankees reliever Adam Warren replaced Sabathia with one out in the eighth and retired Fowler and Diaz to finish the frame. The right-hander has retired all 20 batters he has faced this season.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Cardinals used their challenge in the sixth inning, asking for another look at the final moment of a bizarre play, a tag at second. Torreyes led off by dumping a short fly ball into left field, none of the Cardinals reacted to it and it touched down for a hit. Grichuk's throw actually beat Torreyes to the bag, but Torreyes used a swim move and managed to avoid the tag. The call was ruled to stand and he ended up scoring the Yanks' second run.
Cardinals: The Cards will close out their road trip with a nationally-televised game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday at 7:05 p.m. CT. Adam Wainwright, who hadn't previously visited the Stadium since Sept. 10, 2001, when he attended as a fan, will draw the start for St. Louis. With four strikeouts in the game, he'll reach 1,500 for his career.
Yankees:Michael Pineda (1-1, 3.97 ERA) will make his third start of the season on Sunday night at 8:05 ET as the Yankees wrap up their series against the Cardinals. Pineda retired the first 20 batters he faced as he notched a win in his last start. In 11 career Interleague starts, he is 6-3 with a 2.80 ERA.
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