LAWRENCEVILLE — In the pecking order of Atlanta pitching prospects, Cody Martin ranks several spots behind Lucas Sims and Jason Hursh — the Braves’ first-round draft choices the past two years.
Martin, though, is the closest to the majors at Class AAA Gwinnett and he came into Friday night’s start against Lehigh Valley on a roll.
The 24-year-old struck out nine while allowing just two hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings against Norfolk on April 15 and followed that up by fanning 10 in five, one-hit scoreless innings at Toledo on April 26.
Lehigh Valley, though, ended Martin’s streak of impressive starts on Friday night, defeating the G-Braves 6-1 before a crowd of 7,102 at Coolray Field.
Atlanta's No. 10 prospect as ranked by MLB.com gave up a three-run homer to Jim Murphy and was charged with five runs on six hits in six-plus innings. He struck out five and walked three before departing with two on in the seventh after throwing 99 pitches.
Murphy’s homer came with two outs in the fifth after Martin wasn’t able to successfully start a potential inning-ending double play on a bouncer to the mound. After fouling off one 3-2 pitch, Murphy sent his second homer of the season over the fence in left-center field.
Lehigh Valley’s sixth-inning run also came with two outs as Leandro Castro singled in Maikel Franco, who had left off the inning with a double. Then the IronPigs added a fifth run in the seventh inning after Martin departed with no outs following a walk and single.
The loss dropped Martin’s record to 2-2 and his ERA jumped from 2.66 to 3.64. He has struck out 38 and walked 10 in 29 2/3 innings.
Martin, a 20th-round draft choice in 2010, was an All-American closer at Gonzaga University and started his minor league career in the bullpen before being moved to the rotation by the Braves in 2012 at Class A Advanced Lynchburg.
The right-hander was 12-7 with a 2.93 that year and posted a 3.16 combined ERA with Class AA Mississippi and the G-Braves although going just 6-7 in 2013 – leading the Atlanta system in strikeouts both times.
Lehigh Valley starter Jonathan Pettibone (2-0) worked five innings and allowed one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out five.
Joey Terdoslavich extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the fourth inning and Tommy La Stella stretched his on-base streak to 21 with a single in the ninth inning.
Notes: The Lehigh Valley series is the first time that G-Braves pitchers have hit this season. The designated hitter is used in all International League games except those between two National League affiliates. There are only four NL teams in the IL, with Lehigh Valley (Philadelphia), Louisville (Cincinnati) and Indianapolis (Pittsburgh) joining Gwinnett. … Left-hander Daniel Rodriguez (3-2, 2.67 ERA) will start for the G-Braves in Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. game against Iron Pigs right-hander David Buchanan (3-0, 3.45 ERA). Buchanan, from Peachtree City, was a seventh-round draft choice of the Phillies in 2010 out of Georgia State. … The four-game series concludes at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday. … Buffalo follows Lehigh Valley for four games beginning Monday night.