Game Report: Cardinals 3, Diamondbacks 2

By Rob Rains

In the logjam that is the Cardinals’ outfield, at both the major-league and high minor-league levels, one player who often gets overlooked is Jose Martinez.

He showed again Sunday why that should not be the case.

Getting his first start since July 15 and only the fourth this month, Martinez hit a game-tying two-run homer in the fourth and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth to lead the Cardinals over the Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium.

Martinez made the start in left field as Tommy Pham got the day off.

Barring a trade, the outfield is going to get even more crowded on Tuesday, when Stephen Piscotty is expected to come off the disabled list. Dexter Fowler likely will not be far behind, either.

Martinez also had a single in the first inning and his 2-of-3 day raised his average to .289.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate:
Yadier Molina’s single in the fourth preceded Martinez’s seventh homer of the season .. In the sixth, Jedd Gyorko walked with one out, went to third on another single by Molina and scored on the sacrifice fly by Martinez … The three RBIs tied Martinez’s career high, set on June 13, when he also homered twice … The Cardinals only had two other hits, a single by Kolten Wong in the sixth and a double by Matt Carpenter in the seventh … Paul DeJong was 0-of-2 but walked twice for the first time in his career. He had just six walks in his first 200 plate appearances … Harrison Bader moved up to the second spot in the batting order, where Pham has been hitting, but was 0-of-4, striking out twice … Randal Grichuk struck out in all three of his at-bats as the Cardinals struck out 13 times.

On the mound:
Lance Lynn, the subject of numerous trade rumors, got the start and allowed just four hits over six innings but also issued five walks. One of the walks came with the bases loaded in the second, when the Diamondbacks scored both of their runs. It was only the second time in Lynn’s career he has walked a batter with the bases loaded in 82 plate appearances … The Diamondbacks had just one hit after the fourth inning, a double by Daniel Descalso off Tyler Lyons in the seventh … Seung Hwan Oh had two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth and Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side on 12 pitches in the ninth. Rosenthal has struck out the last five batters he has faced and six of the last seven.

Key stat: The Cardinals’ 5-2 homestand against the Rockies and Diamondbacks allowed them to finish July with a 14-12 record, their first winning month since they were 14-13 last August. They did fall from 3 ½ games out of first place when the month began to 4 ½ games out as the calendar flips to August.

Worth noting:
This is only the third month since becoming a regular that Carpenter, when healthy, did not hit a home run. His last home run came on June 24. He has gone 129 plate appearances since that homer. The other two months when Carpenter did not hit a home run was June 2015 and May 2014 … Molina’s two hits moved him past Willie McGee and into 12th place on the Cardinals’ all-time hit list with 1,684 … Arizona shortstop Chris Owings suffered a broken finger when he was hit by a pitch from Lynn in the second inning … Pitching prospect Dakota Hudson made his Triple A debut on Sunday for Memphis and worked seven innings against Reno, allowing four runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked four..

Looking ahead:
The trade deadline is 3 p.m. St. Louis time on Monday. The Cardinals have the day off and will fly to Milwaukee on Tuesday to open a three-game series against the Brewers. Carlos Martinez is set to pitch against Jimmy Nelson. The Cardinals also will play three games in Cincinnati and two in Kansas City before returning home to host the Royals on Aug. 9.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains