By Sam Bush

The Phillies had a chance to get into first place in NL East last night.

The Mets were beaten by the Red Sox and the Phils were coming off a Monday night win.

But Carlos Martinez had something to say about that.

He pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning for his first win as a starter since 2018, leading the Cardinals over the Phillies 5-2.

Zach Eflin (1-1) gave up five runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter. Eflin has gone at last six innings in all five starts.

“I felt like I did a good job of battling the whole night,” Eflin said. ”I gave up a couple of cheap hits. But at the end of the day, I felt like I had pretty good stuff.”

Paul Goldschmidt and Tommy Edman hit two-run doubles. Nolan Arenado doubled twice and made a dazzling catch as St. Louis won for the fourth time in five games.

Martinez (1-4) allowed two runs, one of them earned, in 7 1/3 innings. He had been 0-9 in his last 12 starts — his previous win came on Sept. 1, 2019, the year he spent as the Cardinals’ closer.

Martinez struck out four and walked two. Alex Reyes picked up his sixth save.

“It was vintage Carlos tonight and that was awesome,” Arenado said.

Martinez set down 13 successive batters before issuing a one-out walk to pinch-hitter Matt Joyce in the eighth.

Martinez was aware that it had been a long time since he recorded a win as a starting pitcher.

“Just keep going, keep going,” Martinez said. “I was feeling really nasty.”

Using his own nickname, the two-time All-Star added: “The ‘Tsunami’ is coming again.”

Added manager Mike Shildt: “It’s coming ashore.”

Arenado turned in the defensive play of the night with a running catch of a foul pop off the bat of Bryce Harper to end the third. Overshifted, Arenado went a long way to make the grab right in front of the stands at a full sprint.

“I told him he had plenty of room,” catcher Andrew Knizner said. “I don’t think he heard me.”

Edman’s double put St. Louis ahead 3-1 in the second. Goldschmidt pushed the lead to 5-2 with a double in the seventh.

The Cardinals played without catcher Yadier Molina, who was placed on the 10-day injured list before the game with a sore tendon in his right foot.

Knizner started at catcher and had two singles.

“He’s here for a reason,” Shildt said. “He’s shown he’s capable.”

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