Ok, maybe it wasn't quite as beautiful as George Seurat's pointilistic masterpiece, Sunday on the Island of La Grand Jatte, in Chicago's Art Institute, but from a baseball perspective, it was darn close.
Carlos Martinez made quick and efficient work of the Baltimore Orioles in the final game of the series, before 39,436 and in only 2:37. The result was a 2-0, two-hit gem that was aided by John Brebbia and Ryan Helsley after CMart exited.
The Cards (6-3) scratched the two runs out in the fourth, as the front end of the lineup, which had produced well in the first series against the Reds, made the difference on Sunday.
After Orioles lefty starter Wade LeBlanc set down nine in a row, Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler led off the fourth with a single and a double. LeBlanc got Tyler O'Neill and Rangel Ravelo to strike out, but Matt Wieters drove a 1-2 liner to right center, plating the two Cards baserunners.
The other three Cards hits, and the two Orioles tags, proved meaningless on this snappy Sunday. CMart again demonstrated strong stuff as he did in Cincinnati, but this time, far more in the strike zone and away from bats.
Eight Orioles fell on strikeouts for Martinez, who walked only one over seven. Most clueless was the fine infielder Hanser Alberto, who vied for the American League batting title last year. On this day, though, he wiffed three times on only 10 pitches.
This outing was what manager Mike Shildt hoped for in Martinez' 2020 return to starting. "He was sharp, he was focused, he was both a painter and a technician today," said Shildt.
CMart and Wieters were in sync, as they found a rhythm early on together and it never departed.
"I mean, when Carlos is right, Carlos is dominant," said Wieters. "Some days he knows he needs to be helped through, even though he may not like it. I didn't have to do much but put down the fingers today. He was all that and a whole case of chips."
Brebbia and Helsley were equally in command in their short stints in the eighth and ninth. Helsley picked up the save after a leadoff walk to Rio Ruiz. Two strikeouts and a game-ending pop to O'Neill in left was all she wrote.
The Cardinals have gotten solid starts three of the last four games from Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson and Martinez, with the only clunker being the Adam Wainwright home opener outing.
The bullpen thus is fairly well rested entering a key, early four-game trial against the Los Angeles Dodgers, they of the 106-win 2019 season who lost in the playoffs to the World Series champion Washington Nationals.
Notes: Shildt is debating how to use his sometimes starters and swingmen for the Dodgers series. He is leaning toward giving Kwang Hyun Kim, who has seen only bullpen action, the Tuesday start, and Flaherty the Thursday one.
Austin Gomber and Daniel Poncedeleon may receive the other two, or Wainwright might come back for Wednesday. Shildt was planning to consult with his pitchers and decide by early Monday afternoon.