Right-hander Shairon Martis continued a hot streak of consistent pitching for Double-A Harrisburg on Wednesday, showing the form that got him time most recently with the Nationals in 2009. The difference now is how well he is controlling games, dropping his ERA from 5.25 to 2.68.
Martis went seven strong innings in notching the victory as the Senators dispatched the Erie SeaWolves, 4-3 at Metro Bank Park.
Manager Tony Beasley said Martis was good because he set the tone early with his best pitch.
"He was really good," Beasley said. "(Martis) came out the first few innings and established the fastball. He used his changeup and breaking ball as well. He had a couple of high-intensity innings in the fourth and fifth. He worked through them."
Martis (6-3) finished allowing only one run over seven innings, scattering four hits, surrendering two walks, striking out six.
Beasley said Martis has now put together three or four quality starts in a row. One reason, is Martis does what veteran pitchers like the Nationals' John Lannan does, he never let Erie have a big inning. The SeaWolves got a triple and two walks to get something going in the sixth inning. Martis managed to get some help from his defense with a 4-6-3 twin killing and then struck out left fielder Michael Bertram to end the threat.
"I think sometimes you try to keep the runner at third base," Beasley said. "But we were up 4-0, so sometimes you got to forget that guy is over there and keep attacking hitters. Once he got back into that frame of my mind, ... that is when he was able to get through that inning."
Pitching coach Randy Tomlin said Martis showed his toughness again in the seventh, when the right-hander protected himself on a hot shot off the bat of Erie designated hitter Bryan Pounds came right back at him. He knocked it down and then threw out Pounds at first. Martis then was able to come back and strike out the next two batters to end the frame.
"He did a great job throughout the game of making good adjustments," Tomlin said. "He was cruising early and then had a little spot there where he was out-of-whack a little bit. He made a good adjustment to get out of the inning. He has got great reaction because he is finishing in a good position. Martis is a good defender. He fields his position rather well."