Martinez allows just three hits in eight innings

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Kevin Millar did the math. By his calculation,
giving Pedro Martinez a three-run lead before he walked to the
mound added up to a victory for the Boston Red Sox.

"Pedro's got a two-something ERA, so we know we score three
we've got a good chance to win," Millar said. "This guy's been
phenomenal for us."

Martinez allowed three hits over eight innings and Millar had
two RBI in a three-run first inning as the Red Sox defeated the
Baltimore Orioles 5-0 Wednesday.

Boston got the only run it needed when No. 5 hitter David Ortiz
drew a bases-loaded walk from Jason Johnson in the top of the
first. Millar followed with a two-run single, and at that point the
Red Sox might as well have started packing their bags after a 7-2
road trip.

"It set the tone," Boston manager Grady Little said. "We came
out and got after it pretty good there."

The three-run cushion proved to be more than enough.

"It was an uphill struggle the whole way," Baltimore manager
Mike Hargrove said. "Once we got behind 3-0, we knew that we were
going to have play near perfect baseball the way just to have a

It was Martinez who was near perfect. The right-hander allowed
only five runners, none of whom advanced past second base.

"He had command of his pitches all day long. He was just
outstanding," Little said.

Johnny Damon had three hits and scored twice for the Red Sox,
who took two of three from the Orioles to close out an impressive
road trip than included two wins in three games against the New
York Yankees.

"When we get on the plane this evening," Little said, "I'm
sure there's not going to be much thought about those two losses.
We're going to think about how successful this road trip was. We're
going home on a good note."

Boston is 3{ games behind New York in the AL East and the Red
Sox entered Wednesday two games ahead of Seattle in the AL
wild-card race.

Martinez (12-4) struck out nine and walked two in lowering his
league-leading ERA to 2.36 and taking over the strikeout lead with
187. He gave up singles to Geronimo Gil in the third and eighth
innings, and a double to Larry Bigbie in the seventh.

"He's just a very special pitcher," Hargrove said. "I don't
know if there's anyone in the game better than he is."

Martinez, 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA in nine career appearances at
Camden Yards, has only two losses in his last 18 starts since May
15. He walked off the mound in the eighth inning and pointed
skyward as many in the crowd of 25,143 cheered his effort.

He refused to talk with reporters after the game.

Alan Embree worked a perfect ninth, completing the three-hitter.

Martinez outpitched Johnson (10-7), who performed well after
yielding three first-inning runs. Johnson is 0-2 since in six
starts since beating Boston on Aug. 10.

"When I put our team in a hole after one inning, it's tough to
come back against anybody, let alone Pedro," Johnson said.

Johnson gave up four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings. He
walked four and struck out three.

The Orioles' lone flurry against Martinez came in the third,
when Gil led off with a single and Tim Raines walked. But Jerry
Hairston struck out and Luis Matos hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

Boston got only one runner past first base in the second through
sixth innings, but went up 4-0 in the seventh. Damon hit a one-out
single, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Nomar

Damon led off the ninth with a single off Kerry Ligtenberg and
came home on a two-out single by Manny Ramirez.

Game notes
The Red Sox played without OF Trot Nixon, who strained his
left calf Tuesday and is day to day. ... Gil, recalled from
Triple-A Ottawa on Tuesday, got his first start with Baltimore
since July 11. ... Boston improved to 7-8 against Baltimore this
season. ... Ramirez extended his hitting streak to a season-high 15
games, five short of his career high. ... Hairston was 8-for-20
against Martinez before going 0-for-4.