PITTSBURGH – Now, it's up to the fans.
Carlos Martinez made his case for inclusion on the National League All-Star team by pitching 7 ⅓ scoreless innings Thursday night, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 in a matchup between the teams with the best records in the major leagues.
Martinez (10-3) scattered four hits while striking out five and walking three in improving to 7-1 with a 1.20 ERA in his past 10 starts.
The righthander is one of the five players contending for the NL's All-Star Final Vote. Fan voting ends Friday afternoon, and the game will be played Tuesday at Cincinnati.
"It's off Carlos' shoulders," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Hopefully, he gets in. He's very deserving, as are the other four guys on the ballot."
St. Louis (56-31) opened a 5 ½-game lead on the Pirates in the NL Central. Pittsburgh (50-35) ended its five-game winning streak in the opener of a four-game series.
That was Martinez's main concern.
"The All-Star Game would be nice, but I just wanted to go out and pitch as long as I could to help the team win the game," Martinez said. "That's my job."
Martinez did his job well.
"You can see his confidence keep growing and growing because he is getting better every time out," St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina said. "When he is throwing his fastball at 99 [mph] and his slider for strikes, too, he's tough for anybody to hit."
Andrew McCutchen kept the Pirates from being shut out as he hit a 443-foot home run, his 11th, to center field off Seth Maness to lead off the ninth inning. That extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games.