ST. LOUIS -- Despite not entering Tuesday's series opener until the seventh inning, Jose Martinez experienced a gamut of emotions over the final frames of the Cardinals' 6-5, 11-inning loss to the Blue Jays
Martinez hit a game-tying, two-run home run, the first of his Major League career, in the seventh. The euphoria he felt during that trip around the bases, however, was overtaken by the frustration of a ball not caught in the decisive 11th inning.
"Best feeling ever," Martinez said of his home run. "But I think right now, with the situation of the game, I don't think that's most important. I think what's most important is that we lost the game."
The Blues Jays scored the winning run when a throw from shortstop Aledmys Diaz got past Martinez, who had entered to play first base as part of a double switch. The throw wasn't on target, but Martinez acknowledged that he should have come off the base to catch it to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring.
It was a rare blunder for the rookie in what has been mostly a storybook start. Martinez entered the night 11-for-29, and he padded those numbers when he crushed Joe Biagini's 2-1 cutter over the right-field wall following an infield single by Kolten Wong.
After a 1-for-3 night, Martinez is batting .375 with four RBIs.
"He can hit, no question," manager Mike Matheny said. "He takes good at-bats."
The homer traveled 390 feet, according to Statcast™, with an exit velocity of 103.5 mph. It also prompted a curtain call from the Busch Stadium crowd, which recognized that it was Martinez's first home run.
"I just stood there, and everybody was telling me to go out," Martinez said. "It was great. I'm going to be thankful for that for my whole career."
The Cardinals retrieved the ball so Martinez could take it home as a keepsake. Interestingly enough, both he and his late father, Carlos Martinez, hit their first career home runs against the Blue Jays.