St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez further escalated his feud with the Atlanta Braves on Sunday after he was seen blowing a kiss to a Braves base runner -- but Atlanta got the last laugh after Martinez's mound implosion led the Cardinals to kiss their lead goodbye.
Martinez, who complained last week after Braves slugger Ronald Acuna Jr. celebrated a late home run in the first game of the National League Division Series, was caught blowing a kiss to Atlanta outfielder Billy Hamilton, who stood on second base in the ninth inning of Game 3, with the Cardinals clinging to a 1-0 lead.
Martinez was quickly chided for the interaction after having criticized Acuna for allegedly not respecting the game.
“I wanted him to respect the game and respect me as a veteran player,” Martinez said after Game 1.
Acuna hit a massive home run in the ninth inning of Game 1, sparking a three-run inning that nearly wiped the Cardinals' lead away. St. Louis hung on for a 7-6 win, but Atlanta took Game 2 to tie the series.
On Sunday, even after Martinez blew the save, and with the Braves now up 3-1, the Cardinals' closer still was seen chirping at Acuna.
Martinez allowed three runs in the inning, which allowed the Braves to go ahead for good enroute to a 2-1 series lead. The pitcher now has a 23.14 ERA in 2 1/3 innings in the postseason.
Atlanta could wrap up the series Monday with a win.