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Martinez stifles Brewers behind pair of dingers

MILWAUKEE -- The Cardinals continued to feel right at home at Miller Park, as Jason Heyward and Jhonny Peralta homered and Carlos Martinez pitched seven scoreless innings for a 3-0 win over the Brewers on Friday.

Martinez scattered four hits and struck out eight for the Cardinals' 24th victory in their last 33 games here dating to the second half of 2011, including wins in two of the three games at Miller Park during that year's National League Championship Series. The Brewers have not won a series on their home turf against the Cardinals since '12.

"He had everything that he wanted," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of his starter. "He did get into trouble, the leadoff guy reaching the first three innings. We had some ugliness on our defense that could have turned out bad. But he just kept making pitches."

 Video: [email protected]: Heyward connects for opposite-field homer

The Brewers fell to 3-14 overall and 1-5 in series openers. Milwaukee is already nine games behind St. Louis in the NL Central standings.

Martinez masterful: Martinez stranded a runner at third in both the first and second innings, though that was about the extent of the trouble he had. He froze Martin Maldonado on a curveball to close the second and notch the first of eight strikeouts, which matched a career high. He retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced while pitching a career-high seven innings. More >

"I tried to keep the baseball down because the ball here flies a lot," Martinez said afterward through a translator. "I feel really happy, really good. I worked the way I wanted to."

Video: [email protected]: Martinez fans eight over seven scoreless

Running into trouble: Brewers manager Ron Roenicke improved to 3-0 in challenges this season after a call at second base was overturned in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Brewers runners on first and second with one out. But the rally ended abruptly when Adam Lind flied out to deep center field, and Ryan Braun was caught trying to advance a base when the throw to the infield momentarily bounced away from the Cardinals. It was the first of three Brewers outs on the basepaths in the first three innings. More >

Video: [email protected]: Cards double off Braun attempting to tag up

Bird blasts: The Brewers were the only NL team with fewer homers than the Cardinals entering Friday, but the Cardinals created some separation with a pair of solo shots by Heyward and Peralta. The home runs -- Heyward's coming in the third, Peralta's in the sixth -- were the second for each player, respectively, this season and gave the Cardinals their third multi-homer game of the year.

Video: [email protected]: Peralta sends a solo shot to left field

Have to start somewhere: It was merely a moral victory, but when Matt Garza got through the sixth inning without allowing damage beyond Peralta's leadoff homer, he secured the Brewers' third consecutive quality start after the team enjoyed only two in its first 14 games. Of the three straight quality starts, only one -- Kyle Lohse's seven-inning gem on Thursday -- produced a victory. More >

"I made progress, but it's about time for that progress to kick in to results," Garza said. "I threw the ball well, but not well enough. Their guy was better. You tip your cap and wear it."

"I think we are still trying to find our identity. Individually we'll have good [at-bats] but we don't string them along together back-to-back-to-back-to-back. We have to find a way to come through and do the small things." -- Brewers left fielder Khris Davis, on a sputtering offense

"I was like, 'Please, don't challenge this. Please. Please.' I was excited. It's been a while. It felt good to get that." -- Yadier Molina, on throwing out his first two runners of the season, both in the third inning.

Video: [email protected]: Martinez fans Parra, Yadi throws out Segura

Molina went out to catch the bottom of the fifth but pulled himself out of the game after a receiving a few warmup pitches. An inning earlier, Molina had taken an Aramis Ramirez foul tip directly off his right knee, the second time in two weeks that Molina has taken a ball off the same spot. His status for Saturday is uncertain, though he was encouraged that the ball hit all muscle. More >

Video: [email protected]: Molina exits after taking foul off knee

Replay helped Martinez get out of a jam in the third by erasing the lead runner, Garza, who got caught straying too far from second. Garza had no choice but to race toward third after Molina threw down to second. Shortstop Peralta threw over to third baseman Matt Carpenter, who applied the tag. Third-base umpire Lance Barrett initially ruled Garza safe, but it took less than a minute to review the play and overturn the call for the first out of the inning.

Video: [email protected]: Cards challenge safe call on tag try in 3rd

Cardinals: Ace Adam Wainwright returns to the mound on Saturday when the Cardinals face the Brewers in a 6:10 p.m. CT game at Miller Park. Wainwright allowed five runs (three earned) over seven innings against Milwaukee in a home-opener loss on April 13.

Brewers: After surrendering 10 hits in a loss to the Cardinals earlier this month, Wily Peralta will seek to rediscover the success he had against St. Louis last season, when he was 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA in five starts. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.
Read More: Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Garza, Yadier Molina, Jason Heyward, Carlos Martinez, Jhonny Peralta