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4/20 Recap: Martinez shines as Cards avoid sweep

Wednesday's 5-3 win gives the Cardinals relief after an otherwise disappointing series with the Chicago Cubs

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Previously on VEB recaps: Jon Snowzeliak gave the skinny on last night's frustrating 2-1 loss to the Cubs.

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Wednesday's starters: Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 2.84 ERA heading into Wednesday) vs. Carlos Martinez (2-0, 3.46)

Their last starts: Hendricks threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs against Arizona on April 9 in a 4-2 Cub victory, while Martinez threw 6 and allowed two runs in a 12-2 St. Louis win over Atlanta.

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Starting lineups:

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The recap: For the St. Louis Cardinals, this young season has been one of ups and downs. Much is fairly obvious to fans of the Redbirds, having seen defensive woes and an inconsistent offense take the stage front and center throughout the first 14 games of the 2016 season.

While the Cards found success against the Cincinnati Reds in the previous series - scoring 26 runs in the three-game series against their fellow division rival - the offense and defense have struggled over the last two games against the Cubs. On Wednesday, things went right when they needed to.

Defense was on display early for the Redbirds, when Randal Grichuk robbed Anthony Rizzo of a two-run home run in the top of the 1st.

The momentum carried over for the Cardinals, as Matt Holliday hit a two-run bomb of his own in the bottom half that put St. Louis up 2-0.

The home team added on two more runs in the 2nd, on a wild pitch by Hendricks and single by Martinez.

In his second at bat, Rizzo got his revenge on the Redbirds and their dual-threat starter, when he hit a solo home run to right field in the top of the 4th.

In the end, Martinez allowed just three hits on 97 pitches over seven innings. He allowed just three hits in the outing, walking three and striking out five. Martinez' 1-for-2 day at the plate raised his batting average from .333 to .375, while his RBI total went up to 3.

The superb day from the 24-year old right-hander was enough reason to post this:

After a rain delay of nearly three and a half hours, the game picked up again in the bottom of the 7th. The Cardinals mustered just one hit in the half-inning.

Seung Hwan Oh was brought into the game in the top of the 8th and threw 30 pitches, surrendering two runs to the Cubs, narrowing what was a 4-1 St. Louis lead to 4-3. In the frame, Oh allowed two hits and a walk.

After a single by Grichuk and throwing error by Cubs reliever Adam Warren, Yadier Molina singled home the centerfielder to get a run back and give the Cardinals a two-run cushion.

Trevor Rosenthal earned his fourth save of the year - which was also his 100th career save - with a 13-pitch ninth, striking out the side.

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Scoring plays:

Bot 1: Holliday two-run home run, scoring Stephen Piscotty -- STL 2, CHC 0

Bot 2: Molina scores, Kolten Wong advances to 2B on wild pitch by Hendricks; Martinez reaches first on infield single, scoring Wong -- STL 4, CHC 0

Top 4: Rizzo solo home run -- STL 4, CHC 1

Top 8: Rizzo single, scoring Dexter Fowler; Kris Bryant FC to 2B, scoring Jason Heyward (Rizzo out at 2B) -- STL 4, CHC 3

Bot 8: Molina single, scoring Grichuk -- STL 5, CHC 3

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Game links - box score / play-by-play

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What's on deck: The Cardinals travel to San Diego to take on the Padres, with Adam Wainwright (0-2, 8.27 ERA) set to face off against Andrew Cashner (0-1, 5.40) in Friday's series opener. In 11 career games against the Friars, Wainwright is 6-2 with a 1.74 ERA, while Cashner is 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in eight career contests against St. Louis.

The Cardinal right-hander has not faced the Padres since 2014. Cashner faced the Cardinals twice last year, allowing just two runs - only one earned - to Redbird hitters over those starts (12 innings).

Wainwright holds a 1-2 career record at Petco Park (with an ERA of 2.11), while Cashner - who has been with the Padres since 2012 - is 15-18 with a 2.74 ERA in San Diego's home ballpark.

Game one of the three-game set is scheduled for a start at 10:40 PM Eastern (9:40 PM Central).