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Cards hope Martinez learns from rough start

Young righty allows seven runs in 3 2/3 innings
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

ST. LOUIS -- After opening the season with four quality starts, in which he displayed a matured repertoire and composed presence on the mound, Carlos Martinez suffered what manager Mike Matheny later described as a "relapse" in Monday's tumultuous start against the Cubs.

Martinez's worst start of the season -- one in which he allowed seven runs, nine hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings -- required quite the bailout from the rest of the club in order to salvage a 10-9 win. Martinez had gone at least six innings deep in each of his previous four starts.

Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- After opening the season with four quality starts, in which he displayed a matured repertoire and composed presence on the mound, Carlos Martinez suffered what manager Mike Matheny later described as a "relapse" in Monday's tumultuous start against the Cubs.

Martinez's worst start of the season -- one in which he allowed seven runs, nine hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings -- required quite the bailout from the rest of the club in order to salvage a 10-9 win. Martinez had gone at least six innings deep in each of his previous four starts.

Full Game Coverage

"Today, to me, was a flashback to things we saw last year and what we've celebrated that he's been able to fix in the last year," Matheny said. "And I'm going to highly suggest that he watches this all over again from our eyes and sees his mannerisms, sees how he was approaching the game and sees how he let it speed up and let his emotions take him too far in the wrong direction, and make sure this is something he moves forward from."

Video: CHC@STL: Matheny on high-scoring win over Cubs

Martinez opened the game by walking the first two batters he faced. That drew a mound visit from Matheny, who impressed upon Martinez the need to better control his emotions. The righty spent much of the first inning throwing over to bases instead of to the batter and looked out of sorts throughout. It led to rushed mechanics and a five-run first for the Cubs, who drew three walks and tallied four hits in the inning.

"In the beginning, I was anxious," Martinez said, speaking through a translator. "Then the second, third inning, I tried to slow down a little bit and felt better. I need to be better the next time I pitch."

The only reason Martinez got the opportunity to pitch into the second and third was because of how thin the Cardinals' bullpen was. Matheny acknowledged that he "had to get every pitch we could" out of Martinez, who needed 42 to get through the first and had a pitch count of 88 through three.

"He was a little too amped up for the game," catcher Tony Cruz said. "He didn't get a couple calls [from home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck] that he thought [he should have]. But it happens. He's a young guy. He really wanted to go out there and show what he has."

After being pulled with two outs in the fourth, Martinez remained in the dugout for the rest of the game instead of retreating to the clubhouse, as many starters do. The teaching started there, with Yadier Molina and Carlos Villanueva among those who sought him out with feedback.

"He's had a fantastic start, and his stuff is so good," Matheny said. "Today was a blip, and we just need him to remember what it felt like to be out there today and that he had pretty good stuff and wasn't able to put it together. That's not the pitcher he is anymore, and I know that's not what he wants to be."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Martinez