Martinez overpowering in return from DL

BOSTON (AP) -- Not much changed for Pedro Martinez and Boston's offense since his last game nearly a month ago. Both were still overpowering Wednesday night.

Martinez pitched three scoreless innings in his return from the disabled list and the Red Sox had a season-high 19 hits on the way to beating the St. Louis Cardinals 13-1.

"Everybody was just pumped up, and we felt great. I felt great,'' Martinez said. ``Now I feel like I am back again to be part of the team and helping the team.''

In his previous appearance on May 15, Martinez pitched six shutout innings and the Red Sox had 16 hits, their previous high for the season, in a 12-3 win over Texas.

Martinez went on the disabled list May 25 with an inflamed tendon and a strained muscle high on his right side. He threw 47 pitches -- Boston wanted him to throw from 45 to 50 -- and was replaced as planned by John Burkett (4-3) who pitched the final six innings.

"It looked like he hadn't missed a step,'' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Martinez. "He's a great pitcher, and he pitched great.''

The Red Sox improved their major league-leading batting average from .296 to .299 and tied a season high by scoring seven runs in the second inning. They scored at least eight runs for the fifth time in seven games.

Martinez left to a standing ovation after striking out three and allowing two hits and no walks as his ERA dropped from 2.83 to 2.70.

When Martinez left, the powerful Red Sox lineup had built a 9-0 cushion against Brett Tomko (2-5), who left after allowing singles to the first two batters in the third. He gave up nine runs on 10 hits.

"It's probably the worst outing of my career,'' Tomko said. ``It's a rut, a big rut. I can't throw a curveball for my life right now.''

Nomar Garciaparra got his sixth triple in 10 games, and Trot Nixon and Manny Ramirez hit solo homers, giving the Red Sox 20 home runs in their past eight games. Boston had 11 hits in the first three innings.

Every Boston starter hit safely, and leadoff hitter Johnny Damon, in a 13-for-69 slump, went 4-for-6 with three RBIs.

"I've been swinging the bat decently all year. Today I was able to find the holes,'' said Damon, whose .249 average is the only one below .293 among Boston's starters. "We made (Tomko) throw strikes. He was missing, and we made him come to us.''

The Cardinals got to Burkett immediately in the fourth as Albert Pujols led off with a double and scored on Jim Edmonds' single. But Burkett shut them out for the final five innings.

"I'm pretty awesome with nine runs'' for a lead, Burkett said with a smile. "I'm glad I pitched well, but I wasn't really a key part of the game.''

Martinez said that it took him longer to warm up than usual after the long second inning but that he expects to feel fine Thursday.

"I am going to feel better according to what I feel right now,'' he said.

Nixon started Boston's big second inning by hitting a one-out homer, his eighth of the season and fifth in seven games. Bill Mueller singled and scored on Jason Varitek's double.

Damon's run-scoring double made it 3-0 before Todd Walker flied out for the second out. Then Garciaparra singled in a run, Ramirez walked and David Ortiz followed with an RBI single. Kevin Millar capped the rally with a two-run double.

The Red Sox made it 9-0 in the third on Damon's RBI single and Garciaparra's sacrifice fly. Ramirez led off the sixth with his 14th homer, his seventh during his 10-game hitting streak, to make the score 10-0.

Boston added three more runs in the eighth against Dustin Hermanson, who pitched for the Red Sox last year.

But with Martinez pitching again, Boston doesn't need a lot of hits to win.

"It's huge to have him pitch three innings and know we're going to have him every fifth day,'' Damon said. "It puts a little pep in our step.''

Game notes
Pujols extended his hitting streak to 12 games. … The Cardinals lost for just the second time in nine games. In interleague play, they're 6-2 this season. … Boston is 6-1 in Martinez's last seven starts after going 0-3 in his first three. … New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick attended the game and sat beside the Red Sox dugout. … Garciaparra's 30 multihit games leads the majors. The Red Sox have played 63.