ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Martinez has been the Cardinals' best starting pitcher as of late, keeping them in games throughout May, often with little offensive support. In Wednesday night's 2-1 win, the right-hander continued his streak of impressive performances, which included a stellar grab on a hard-hit line drive.
With one out in the second inning, Martinez pitched to the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger on a 1-0 count. Bellinger hit a line drive right back at Martinez, who reacted quickly to make an impressive catch. The line drive was hit at 107.5 mph, according to Statcast™. It was the fastest exit velocity on a putout by a pitcher in the Statcast™ Era (2015-present).
"That's actually something I've been working on," Martinez said about the catch through a translator. "Right when I pitch, sometimes I used to move from side-to-side, and now I'm working on being right in front of home plate, so I can be ready for any type of plays like that."
The previous highest exit velocity on a putout was a 107.0 mph liner hit by the Padres' Hunter Renfroe to Marlins pitcher David Phelps in San Diego on April 21.
Martinez continued his impressive May with his outing on Wednesday, going at least seven innings for the third time in the month and holding the Dodgers scoreless through five. Martinez ended the night after pitching eight innings, allowing four hits, one run, one walk and four strikeouts on 106 pitches, 70 of which were strikes. He improved to 4-4 on the season with a 3.08 ERA.
For comparison, the home run hit by William Fowler in the eighth to take the 2-1 lead had an exit velocity of 106.7 mph, almost one mph slower than the hit Martinez managed to catch.
"We know ace stuff is what Carlos has, you know our Opening Day guy. The guy that comes in and can put a stop to a tough run," manager Mike Matheny said. "We needed a special performance and he answered."