Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Martes highlights dominant bullpen effort

MLB.com

PHOENIX -- The called third strike on D-backs second baseman Brandon Drury for the second out in the sixth inning officially registered at 98.8 mph, but the radar gun inside of Chase Field flashed 100 mph.

Drury didn't like the call. The next batter, Chris Herrmann, also went down looking, this time courtesy of an 87-mph curveball, and he shook his head on his way back to the dugout.

View Full Game Coverage

PHOENIX -- The called third strike on D-backs second baseman Brandon Drury for the second out in the sixth inning officially registered at 98.8 mph, but the radar gun inside of Chase Field flashed 100 mph.

Drury didn't like the call. The next batter, Chris Herrmann, also went down looking, this time courtesy of an 87-mph curveball, and he shook his head on his way back to the dugout.

View Full Game Coverage

Francis Martes' work was done for the afternoon. The 21-year-old Astros reliever entered the game with two outs in the fifth inning of Houston's eventual 9-4 win over the D-backs and Paul Goldschmidt at third base. Martes proceeded to strike out the next four batters in row. The depleted Houston bullpen could use some reinforcement, and the young Martes could be the answer. He understands why there still might be a few questions.

"I just have to control my body on the mound and work on my mechanics, and I'm working hard on that," Martes said in Spanish. "That's what I need. Sometimes my mechanics are really fast and sometimes not as fast. It's about being calm and having a good pace and finding the strike zone. It's not a good thing to have a good outing and then have a bad one. A good day and a bad day, but I'm working hard on that."

Martes, who improved to 5-2 with the win, was good on Tuesday. He relieved starter Brad Peacock with his team ahead, 8-4, and struck out J.D. Martinez on three pitches. The righty struck out Chris Iannetta swinging to start the sixth. Drury and Herrmann went down on called third strikes.

"His arm strength is incredible," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "When he's locked in the strike zone, and I have said this before, he can really be a dominant pitcher. He's pitched in a couple of different roles. He's started and he's pitched in a couple of leverage innings, and he's also kept some games close. He can come in and stop the momentum of the game, get a big strikeout and go back out and have an electrifying inning like he did. He's a real weapon when he's inside the strike zone."

Chris Devenski replaced Martes to start the bottom of the seventh and pitched a scoreless frame. Luke Gregerson struck out two of the three batters he faced in a scoreless eighth. Francisco Liriano walked Drury to lead off the ninth and Daniel Descalso one out later, but struck out Ketel Marte for the second out. A.J. Pollock grounded out to end the game.

The Astros and the D-backs split the two-game series in Arizona and will resume play with two more games against each other in Houston. Martes said he will be ready when he's called upon.

He wants to play a big role during the remaining weeks of the regular season. He also knows he has to earn it.

"I felt really good out there," Martes said. "The pitches were exactly where I wanted them to go and got the results we needed."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Houston Astros