By Brittany Ghiroli and Jenifer Langosch
BALTIMORE -- The Cardinals used five home runs and a stellar six innings from Carlos Martinez to break their road hex and cruise to an 11-2 series-opening win over the struggling Orioles on Friday night.
The victory snaps an eight-game skid for the Cards away from Busch Stadium -- their longest road losing streak since 2007 -- and marks the Orioles' eighth loss in nine games. After a hot start, Baltimore (32-34) has fallen to last place in the American League East.
"You could see some things start trending in the right direction," Cardinals manager MIke Matheny said. "Guys were taking good at-bats and grinding through, even in that last series against Milwaukee. Everybody [was] really contributing today, and Carlos [was] setting the tone with how he went about his business."
Paul DeJong went deep off Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, while Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler went back-to-back in the sixth off Gabriel Ynoa. Tommy Pham also homered off Ynoa, who gave up five runs (three earned) in relief after being recalled earlier in the day. Jedd Gyorko added a solo dinger in the ninth, giving the Cardinals their first five-homer game of the year.
Martinez, coming off his first career shutout, struck out eight and held the Orioles to just one run on four hits. The 25-year-old picked up his sixth win and lowered his ERA to 2.86 in the process.
"I was really focused," said Martinez, who has posted a 2.06 ERA over his last nine starts. "This is a small ballpark. I feel like it was a continuation of everything I have been doing up until now. My main focus was to keep the ball low, and it worked out."
Gausman continued his disappointing campaign, going 5 2/3 innings and giving up five runs on nine hits. The O's best pitcher down the stretch last year, Gausman fell to 3-6 with a 6.60 ERA in 2017, while Baltimore is still looking for its first quality start since June 4.
"Every mistake gets kind of magnified by ... when they have a real good pitcher on the mound, we're not scoring many runs," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Gausman's effort. "That's usually enough to keep us engaged in the game, but we didn't do much [offensively]."
Trey Mancini went deep with two outs in the ninth for Baltimore for his 11th homer of the year.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Martinez's impressive at-bat: With Gausman looking like he'd get through six, Jose Martinez worked a two-out, two-strike at-bat for 10 pitches, which ended with a double to chase the O's starter.
"I was looking for one pitch. I know he has that good changeup," Martinez said. "That was the one he struck me out on the second at-bat of the night. I'm seeing the ball well, and I was able to put the ball in play right there."
Ynoa came on and surrendered an RBI single before the back-to-back homers put the game out of reach.
"Most times when you get through six with less than two runs, you're going to go back out there for the seventh. We're just killing our bullpen right now as starters, so that was kind of my goal, to get through that sixth," Gausman said. "[Martinez] really battled. I thought I struck him out on a pitch, and of course it hits the dirt. Obviously things aren't going our way right now, so just try to battle and minimize."
DeJong delivers: DeJong -- who drove in three runs out of the No. 9 hole -- had three hits, including the second homer of his career. The second baseman's fourth-inning shot kicked off eight consecutive two-out runs for St. Louis. DeJong joined Hall-of-Fame pitchers Bob Gibson and Dizzy Dean as the only players in franchise history to tally three hits, three runs, three RBIs and hit a home run from the ninth spot in the order.
"Pretty good company, I would say," DeJong noted, when told of the feat. "I didn't throw a pitch. All I was trying to do was have a good night at the plate."
"Well, that would be assuming we haven't already done that. When we do stuff like that, we're certainly not going to invite everybody, so to speak. Those things have been done by a lot of different people, including the players. We'll keep looking for ways to get better." -- Showalter, on talking with his players over this tough stretch.
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With eight strikeouts on Friday, Martinez became the first Cardinals pitcher since Chris Carpenter (2005) to strike out at least eight in five consecutive starts. He has finished six innings in each of his last 10 starts, the third-longest such active streak in the Majors.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: Over his 12-year career, Adam Wainwright has never faced the Orioles. That will change on Saturday when Wainwright, who has won five of his last six starts -- but hasn't made it past the fifth in his last two -- will take the mound for St. Louis in its 3:05 p.m.CT game against Baltimore.
Orioles: The O's will send Wade Miley to the hill on Saturday, looking to help turn things around. Miley hasn't lasted past the third inning in his past two starts, allowing a combined 10 runs on 14 hits against the Pirates and White Sox. He's allowed at least four runs in four of his past six starts.