Carlos Martinez knew all along that he would be pitching Thursday night. But the Cardinals right-hander thought he'd be doing so in Reno.
Instead, Martinez will make his first career big league start in the Cards' series finale against the Dodgers at Busch Stadium.
Shelby Miller's injury Wednesday night threw a wrench into the Cardinals' plans. Jake Westbrook, who was originally scheduled to start Thursday's contest, came on in relief, and St. Louis called upon Martinez to fill in.
The club's No. 3 overall prospect, Martinez is 5-2 with a 1.87 ERA in the Minors this season, having split time between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. He struggled in 10 relief appearances for the Cardinals earlier this year.
For the Dodgers, it's lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu who will toe the rubber -- his first start since a high-wire act in Chicago that saw him allow 11 hits but only two runs over 5 1/3 innings.
Ryu's solid rookie season (10-3, 3.15 ERA) might have him in the National League Rookie of the Year Award conversation. He hasn't picked up a loss since June 19 against the Yankees in the Bronx.
At 32-25 away from Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers own baseball's best road winning percentage. Their streak of 15 straight road victories was snapped on Tuesday, but according to Adrian Gonzalez, the players weren't giving it much notice.
"I don't really think we were paying attention to it," Gonzalez said. "We were just trying to win every game."
The last time the Dodgers led the Majors in road wins? It was also the last time they won the World Series, going 49-31 on the road in 1988.
Dodgers: Kemp inches toward return
• Center fielder Matt Kemp took batting practice for the first time in his recovery from a sprained left ankle. He is yet to test the ankle by running, however.
"It felt good to get back out there and hit a little bit," Kemp said. "I felt like a real baseball player. It's been tough. Play a little bit, don't play, out for a while, come back. You know, it's a start. It's better than where I was."
In 62 games this season, Kemp is hitting .263 with five homers.
Cardinals: Cruz filling in nicely
• In the absence of injured backstop Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz has now caught eight of nine games for St. Louis and is 7-for-29 with six RBIs.
"It's a dream come true when you get to come up and play in the big leagues," Cruz said. "But to come here and be able to play every day, it's like that first day again."
• The Cardinals have not lost a four-game series this season, having gone 3-0-3. A loss Thursday would snap that streak.
• Gonzalez is hitting .351 in his career at Busch Stadium.
• The Dodgers have won 10 consecutive one-run games, dating back to June 25.