ST. LOUIS — Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez is ready to show his appreciation to outfielder Randal Grichuk.
Grichuk robbed Anthony Rizzo of a home run with an over-the-wall catch in the first inning Wednesday to help Martinez settle into seven strong innings, and St. Louis beat the Cubs 5-3 to avoid a sweep to its NL Central rivals.
"It was so big I'm going to pay him a dinner in San Diego," Martinez said.
Matt Holliday homered and the Cardinals scored twice in each of the first two innings against Kyle Hendricks.
Chicago, the first team in the majors to 11 wins, had won three of its previous four and took the first two games of the series.
Martinez recorded his third quality start in three outings this season. Grichuk's highlight-reel catch seemed to give him a lift.
"It's the second robbed homer I've gotten to," Grichuk said. "Definitely being the Cubs in a big game, it's probably my top one."
The game was delayed 3 hours, 21 minutes by rain in the middle of the seventh. Grichuk, who jumped and reached over the wall with his glove, joked that he watched the replay of his grab 72 times during the stoppage.
Martinez seemed to get better as the game went along and retired the last six batters he faced.
"He had more of a feel than straight power," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.
Martinez added an RBI hit in the second to push the lead to 4-0.
Holliday hit a two-run shot in the first off Hendricks, who became the first Cubs starter this season to fail to pitch at least six innings.