- Associated Press - Monday, March 24, 2014

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - Joe Kelly was told that he will be the Cardinals’ No. 5 starter after taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning Sunday in St. Louis’ 6-3 victory over the Houston Astros.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Carlos Martinez will go to the bullpen.

“We are just in a spot where we’ve got to try and figure out what is best for our club,” said Matheny, noting that Martinez is a proven commodity in the bullpen.

Kelly lost a competition last spring to Shelby Miller, but moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation later in the year. He started 15 games for the Cardinals in the regular season and four more in the postseason and has a 3.08 ERA.


Martinez thrived in the setup role late last season, including in the playoffs. He will return to eighth inning duty, setting up closer Trevor Rosenthal, despite allowing only three earned runs and striking out nine in 15 1-3 spring innings.

“I believe that he is eventually going to be a starter and I believe he is going to be a very good one, but right now we need him to help our club out of the bullpen,” Matheny said.

Kelly’s control fluctuated in Sunday’s start, during which he struck out five but also walked four. He allowed two runs and two hits in the sixth and didn’t get an out before being lifted.

“I wouldn’t say it was great, by any means,” Kelly said before learning he would be in the rotation. “The walks are just something that I absolutely don’t like.”

Shortstop Jhonny Peralta gave the Cardinals the lead in the second with his third homer of the spring. Matt Holliday hit his first in the third and Matt Adams also connected in the third, a two-run shot off Astros starter Jerome Williams.

Williams gave up six runs and nine hits in four innings.

“It was one of those days where balls were finding the bats and balls were finding the holes,” Williams said. “I left about three or four pitches up and they took advantage of them.”

Closer Trevor Rosenthal took a comebacker off his backside in the ninth. The ball caromed to third baseman Daniel Descalso, who threw to first in time to get Marwin Gonzalez. Rosenthal remained in the game and recorded the save.

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Astros: Williams has allowed 10 runs in 7 2-3 innings over his past two Grapefruit League outings.

“It’s kind of bad that it’s happening now at end the of spring,” Williams said. “Hopefully I can just turn it around before the season starts.”

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