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Homer dents Martinez debut; Cards lose 5-4

2014-02-28T16:25:00Z 2014-03-01T09:37:05Z Homer dents Martinez debut; Cards lose 5-4By Derrick Goold dgoold@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8285 stltoday.com

JUPITER, Fla. • In the first of what only seems like an infinite series of Fins and Feathers games this spring at Roger Dean Stadium, the visiting Marlins upended the host Cardinals 5-4.

There will be a rematch Saturday at the same place.

The hosts and visitors -- neighbors all spring -- will flip places in the box score and change the color of their pants. They will not even change dugouts for their second meeting of the Grapefruit League schedule.

The Cardinals' prospects took a stab late in the game at a rally. Patrick Wisdom, a talented third baseman, launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate. He finished the game with a hit in three at-bats and two RBIs.

Carlos Martinez pitched three innings and allowed two runs on two hits and had two strikeouts. In the first inning he retired the first two batters he faced before getting into trouble. Martinez left a slider over the plate that hung, deliciously, for Garrett Jones. The righty had pushed two sinkers past Jones before going to the sinker. He had wanted to drive it inside to the back foot of Jones, but left it up.

"The thinking was good," manager Mike Matheny said. "The execution wasn't there."

Tyler Lyons was the most effective pitcher of the group with his two, swift scoreless innings. Lyons retired six of the seven batters he faced and struck out one. He did what youngster Marco Gonzales did not in an 1 2/3 innings of work -- stay in the strike zone, not try to work around it. Gonzales allowed two hits and two runs and he walked three batters to take the loss.

Yadier Molina had two hits in the loss.

The Marlins scored five runs on eight hits, and it was former Cardinal Ty Wigginton that had the key RBI for Miami.

Marlins righty Jose Fernandez started the game and pitched two scoreless innings against the Cardinals. Fernandez riddled the National League last season and won the NL Rookie of the Year award. He has talked openly this spring about wanting to have a sub-2.00 ERA this season. Fernandez struck out two and allowed two hits. He gave up a what would have been a single for Allen Craig had Giancarlo Stanton not speared a line drive with a lunging catch in right field.

 BOX SCORE: Marlins 5, Cards 4

BERNIE: 10 things to watch in Cards' spring games

***

COMMAND IS KEY FOR CARDS' STARTERS

When it comes to the handful of starters with a chance to crack the major-league rotation, the first two to see game action this spring entered their assignments with similar goals.

Command is key. Secondary pitches are coming along.

Starter Carlos Martinez was able to get through all of his pitches in his three innings of work, and he did work efficiently to complete the innings on 36 pitches. Martinez was bruised when he left a slider up in the zone and Garrett Jones tattooed it for a home run. Tyler Lyons got through his two innings without a blemish, and he like Martinez built off his fastball to reach his off-speed stuff. Getting the fastball control is his goal.

"For me, I don’t know if it’s necessarily experimenting," Lyons said. "I would say the no. 1 thing that I am trying to work on his fastball command, moving the fastball to both sides of the plate. Not necessarily experiment – that’s just something that needs to be there. That’s something that I’m really focusing on is working the fastball to both sides of the plate and the rest will come later."

Maritnez said he felt good about his pitches.

The slider is his power breaking ball and he was able to get one of his two strikeouts on the pitch. He also misplaced it a few times. Martinez is re-incorporating his curveball into the mix and said he got the work needed on it and his changeup.

"It was more the location" of the slider on the homer, Martinez said with the help of an interpreter. "Tried to throw it down in the zone and it just hung and got hit. ... I feel good. I feel ready for the season."

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EX-CARD WIGGINTON SPARKS MARLINS' RALLY

Ty Wigginton, signed to a two-year, $5 million contract by the Cardinals before last season, finally came through today. But Wigginton, released by the Cardinals during the season last year, plays for the Miami Marlins now and the non-roster invitee played a big role in Miami's two-run seventh inning that broke a 2-2 tie in the exhibition baseball opener.

Cardinals lefthander Marco Gonzales, working his second inning, walked Rob Brantly to open the seventh. Gonzales, the Cardinals' top draft pick last year, then allowed a one-out, run-scoring double to Wigginton, the designated hitter, and a run-scoring triple by Jake Marisnick. 

Gonazles was lifted after a two-out walk for righthander Keith Butler.

 

***

 

BOURJOS HELPS CARDS TIE SCORE

Didn't take long for Peter Bourjos to show more than the rings of his stirrups in his first Cardinals' game.

Bourjos, the center fielder the Cardinals acquired from Los Angeles in exchange for David Freese, skipped a game-tying single to left field in his second at-bat. Bourjos' scored Scott Moore from second to tie the Marlins this afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium, 2-2.

Bourjos' single was the Cardinals' second of the inning with runners in scoring position -- their record-setting hallmark last season.

Yadier Molina had two hits in his first two at-bats as designated hitter.

The Cardinals scored two runs with no outs in the fourth inning after Allen Craig opened the inning with a double to center field. Craig was replaced by Stephen Piscotty at second base, and the pinch runner promptly scored as Matt Adams poked a single past the second baseman for the Cardinals first run.

Bourjos turned on a pitch and hit a hot grounder to Casey McGehee at third base. The ball glanced off McGehee's glove before floating into left field for a base hit. That allowed pinch-runner Moore to score from second and knot the score.

Tyler Lyons pitched two scoreless innings of relief after Carlos Martinez's three innings. Lyons allowed a single and retired six of the seven batters he faced.

First-round pick Marco Gonzales will replace Lyons for the sixth inning.

***

HOMER DENTS MARTINEZ'S SPEEDY GRAPEFRUIT DEBUT

The radar gun here at Roger Dean Stadium isn't turned on for the game this afternoon.

It's spring training for the tech, too.

Carlos Martinez did not lack for velocity -- that was clear even without the readouts -- as he worked through three innings in the first exhibition spring start of his career. Martinez struck out two and allowed two runs on two hits through his appearance. The righty needed 36 pitches to get through his three innings. Twenty-five of his pitches were for strikes.

He did not walk a batter. He got a strikeout on a breaking pitch.

The only damage done was a single and home run that you can read all about below.

The Cardinals have two hits in the game through 2 1/2 innings. Yadier Molina singled and reached third on Shane Robinson's infield single and error.

Tyler Lyons replaced Martinez and faced Stanton with his first pitch.

***

JONES TAGS MARTINEZ FOR HOMER

The star the Miami Marlins will hitch their lineup and their marketing to this season, Giancarlo Stanton, had a role in putting and keep the Marlins ahead in the first inning this afternoon against the Cardinals.

Stanton singled and scored on Garrett Jones' home run. Stanton then, in the bottom of the inning, robbed a single from Cardinals right fielder Allen Craig with a diving catch.

Miami leads 2-0 after an inning and a half.

Cardinals righty Carlos Martinez made quick work of the first batter he faced before the first inning started to grind on the young arm. Martinez blistered leadoff hitter Adeiny Hechavarria with a breaking ball for a strikeout. He then got a grounder from Christian Yelich before Stanton keyed the two-out rally with a sharp grounder to left.

Jones punished a pitch for a home run over the wall in right.

Martinez needed 17 pitches to get through the first inning, and he pitched a clean second inning. Martinez is out for the start of the third inning. He has struck out two and allowed the two hits to the middle of the Marlins' order.

Tyler Lyons will replace Martinez.

***

CARP LEADS OFF

As many as six regulars dot the opening (spring) day lineup that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny just posted in the clubhouse this morning.

Yadier Molina, as advertised, will be the designated hitter.

Matt Holliday won't play today, but will DH on Saturday.

The first four players in the Cardinals lineup are all candidates for the everyday lineup once the season opens -- and each of them is at their new position, three of them are either moving positions are moving up to the majors. Matt Carpenter remains the leadoff hitter, but shifts to third base.

Kolten Wong is getting a chance as a rookie to be the starter at second base, though No. 2 in the order may not be his home for the start of the regular season.

Allen Craig is batting in the middle of the lineup -- where the Cardinals want him to spend the whole season -- but he's in right field to make room for "Big City" Adams at first.

Here is the lineup for the first game vs. Miami

1. Matt Carpenter, 3B

2. Kolten Wong, 2B

3. Allen Craig, RF

4. Matt Adams, 1B

5. Yadier Molina, DH

6. Peter Bourjos, CF

7. Shane Robinson, LF

8. Tony Cruz, C

9. Pete Kozma, SS

Check back throughout the morning and afternoon for live coverage of the Cardinals' first game and for news from the morning workout.

Derrick Goold covers the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for The Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @dgoold or on Facebook at Facebook.com/BirdLandPD

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Baseball writers Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel cover the Cardinals for the Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com. They'll provide daily Cardinals updates here, from the start of spring training through the end of the season and beyond.

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