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Pirates' Martin slugs way to NL weekly honor

Veteran backstop's four-homer week helped propel Bucs into first place

Pirates catcher Russell Martin was named the National League Player of the Week for the first time in his career Monday, one day after helping lead his club to the top spot in the NL Central.

Martin connected on a pair of homers and added a double Sunday in Pittsburgh's 9-0 series-clinching rout of the Cardinals, putting the Pirates half a game ahead of St. Louis entering play Monday.

Sunday's powerful display capped a four-homer week for Martin, the most by any NL hitter. Martin finished the week hitting .375 (9-for-24) and led the Senior Circuit with 23 total bases and a .958 slugging percentage.

Playing in his first season with the Pirates, Martin also played a pivotal role in Pittsburgh's win over its division rival on Saturday night. With the Pirates trailing, 2-0, in the seventh inning, Martin connected on a two-run homer to tie the game en route to a four-run inning and eventual 5-3 victory.

As for his big day Sunday, Martin's three extra-base hits marked just the second time in the last 50 years that a Pirates catcher recorded three extra-baggers with at least two being homers. Ryan Doumit also accomplished the feat on June 10, 2008.

For the season, Martin is hitting .267 with five home runs and nine RBIs, entering play Monday.

Paul Casella is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.