Cardinals send Martinez to the bump to try and finish off sweep of Snakes

The St. Louis Cardinals' dominance of the Arizona Diamondbacks has been particularly pronounced on the mound.

Carlos Martinez, however, is just looking to avoid the longest losing streak of his career as the Cardinals go for an eighth straight win over the Diamondbacks on Thursday night.

St. Louis (81-45) has won 12 of the past 13 meetings with Arizona (62-64) behind a 1.94 ERA from the rotation. Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia and John Lackey have combined for a 1.89 ERA while winning the first three of this series at Chase Field.

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Lackey delivered the latest gem Wednesday, yielding one run in seven innings of a 3-1 victory to move the Cardinals 36 games over .500 for the first time since finishing 2005 at 100-62.

"You've got to pound the strike zone early on to establish things later on," Lackey said. "It's kind of risk-reward; you try to get guys to put balls in play and sometimes they get hits."

Martinez (12-6, 2.85 ERA), second to Michael Wacha's team-high 15 wins, struck out eight in seven scoreless innings of a 3-2 win in his only career start against the Diamondbacks on May 25.

That performance was part of a 14-start stretch, during which the right-hander went 9-2 with a 1.76 ERA. However, he's in danger of losing three straight starts for the first time after giving up eight runs and 14 hits in 11 1/3 innings over his last two.

Martinez was solid in Saturday's 8-0 loss at San Diego, yielding three runs and striking out six in 6 1/3 innings.

Tommy Pham has been a revelation lately, hitting .407 with seven runs and five walks in seven games. He was recalled from Triple A Memphis on Aug. 17 to replace the injured Randal Grichuk (elbow) in center field.

The rookie has five hits and three walks in this series.

Jhonny Peralta went 0 for 4 Wednesday but is still batting .371 with 18 RBIs in 17 career matchups with Arizona.

The Diamondbacks are trying to avoid their first five-game slide at home since dropping eight in a row from April 2-16, 2014.

Giving the ball to Rubby De La Rosa (11-5, 4.32) should help. Arizona's wins leader, De La Rosa is 5-0 with a 2.54 ERA over his last seven starts, posting a 1.71 ERA while winning all three home appearances in that stretch.

The right-hander yielded two runs in seven innings of 6-3 win at Cincinnati on Friday, completing at least six for the sixth time in seven games.

"If there's a guy on our staff who can go deep into a game, it's him. He's a horse," manager Chip Hale said. "He's got the ability to throw a hundred pitches."

De La Rosa gave up one run in six innings and didn't get a decision with Boston in a 3-2 loss at St. Louis in his only career start against the Cardinals on Aug. 5, 2014.

Paul Goldschmidt has a solo homer and a double among his four hits in the last two games, giving him a .524 average in the last seven at home. The first baseman is hitting .331 to rank behind Miami's Dee Gordon (.333) and Bryce Harper (.332) of Washington in the NL batting race.