Carlos Martinez to return to Cardinals’ rotation on Friday

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Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night against the Nationals with what was described as a minor back issue. The decision was really more about limiting the 23-year-old’s workload, which is something the Cardinals are now doing with 24-year-old righty Michael Wacha. Proof of that is Martinez getting clearance to return to the rotation Friday in St. Louis’ big series opener versus the Pirates.

J.J. Bailey of KMOV says Martinez will go Friday, Jaime Garcia will take Saturday, and John Lackey will pitch Sunday. This means Lance Lynn is going to get some extra time to rest his rolled right ankle.

St. Louis opened play Tuesday with a six-game lead over Pittsburgh in the National League Central standings. Martinez boasts a 2.91 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 154 2/3 innings this season.

Brewers move into tie with Nationals for first NL Wild Card

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The Brewers, once left for dead after outfielder Christian Yelich suffered a season-ending injury, defeated the Pirates 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. That, paired with the Nationals’ 5-3 loss to the Marlins, moved them into a tie for the first NL Wild Card. The Brewers are 10-2 since Yelich’s injury.

During Sunday’s game, the Brewers brought a combined perfect game bid into the seventh inning. It ended when Gio González allowed a one-out single to Bryan Reynolds. The Brewers’ four runs came on two Eric Thames homers and an Orlando Arcia homer. The Pirates mounted a rally in the eighth inning, scoring three runs, but Josh Hader came in and slammed the door, getting the final four outs.

The Brewers end the season on a six-game road trip. They will face the Reds for three games before finishing out the schedule with three against the Rockies. The Cubs trail both the Brewers and Nationals by four games. The Mets are 4.5 games back while the Diamondbacks and Phillies are each 5.5 games behind.