Martinez last won Sept. 8

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Pedro Martinez is ready to put his
September struggles behind him and it will be as Boston's No. 2
starter in the postseason.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner lost his fourth straight
start Wednesday night when the Red Sox fell 9-4 to Tampa Bay, but
he said he's confident he'll rebound when the playoffs begin next

"I'm not concerned at all," Martinez said after the loss
damaged Boston's slim chances of winning the AL East. "I would
like the results to be better, but I'm healthy and I feel great. I
just have to continue to pitch and work hard. Hopefully in the
playoffs, it will be different."

He also said he would like to re-sign with Boston rather than
leave as a free agent this winter.

"There's no need to go anywhere. I'm going to give them a
chance," Martinez said.

"I'm actually positive. I'm thinking I'm going to sign with
Boston again. I just hope they don't disrespect me or anything
while we're negotiating. That would be my turning point."

The loss to the Devil Rays dropped the Red Sox, who already
clinched a playoff berth, four games behind the New York Yankees in
the division with four games remaining. The Yankees swept a
doubleheader from Minnesota on Wednesday.

Martinez (16-9) said he has already been told by manager Terry
Francona that he will start Game 2 of Boston's opening playoff

He said he has no problem with 21-game winner Curt Schilling
starting Game 1.

"He was the No. 1 pitcher from the get-go. He deserves to be
the No. 1 starter," Martinez said. "I actually should pitch like
fifth, or maybe not even pitch in the playoffs, if I continue to
pitch the way I have."

Martinez lost to the Devil Rays for the second time in just over
two weeks, allowing six runs and 10 hits in five innings. He's also
lost twice to the Yankees during his skid and has yielded 21 runs
and 30 hits in 23 1-3 innings in four outings since he last won on
Sept. 8.

"I just didn't pitch. I didn't make pitches," Martinez said.

Francona insisted he's not alarmed.

"I'll be thrilled to give him the ball," Francona said.
"That's the truth. I bet a lot of managers would love to say the
same thing."

Martinez threw 64 pitches in the first three innings and saved
himself from an even earlier exit when he worked out of a jam after
giving up singles to Aubrey Huff and Tino Martinez and hitting
Midre Cummings with a pitch to load the bases with no outs in the

The Devil Rays scored one in the first, three in the second and
one in the fourth before going up 6-3 on Jorge Cantu's sacrifice
fly in the fifth. Tino Martinez added a three-run homer in the
eighth off Alan Embree.

"I managed 10 years in Seattle, and we had some real good teams
there," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "My teams in
Seattle never beat Pedro. Until two weeks ago, I had never managed
a game where we had beat Pedro. Now we've beat him two in a row.
How do you explain baseball?"

Doug Waechter (5-7) allowed three runs and five hits in five
innings to get the victory. The 23-year-old right-hander gave up an
RBI single to David Ortiz in the first, Bill Mueller's sacrifice
fly in the second and Trot Nixon's solo homer in the fourth.

Carl Crawford hit his major league-leading 18th triple and
scored Tampa Bay's first run on shortstop Orlando Cabrera's error,
then Martinez allowed three runs in the second on Toby Hall's RBI
single, B.J. Upton's run-scoring triple and Crawford's sacrifice

Nixon's homer trimmed Boston's deficit to 4-3 in the fourth,
however the Devil Rays regained a two-run lead in the bottom half
when Upton walked, stole second and scored when Boston center
fielder Gabe Kapler misplayed Julio Lugo's single for an error.

Adam Hyzdu's solo homer off Lance Carter cut Tampa Bay's lead to
6-4 in the eighth. Trevor Miller replaced Carter and pitched 1 2-3
innings for his first save.

Game notes
Boston's Manny Ramirez, who has a tender hamstring, doubled
in the first to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He left the
game for a pinch runner after walking in the fifth, finishing
1-for-2. ... Tampa Bay CF Rocco Baldelli was given permission to
miss Wednesday night's game and Thursday's doubleheader against
Detroit to handle a family matter. ... Boston CF Johnny Damon, who
had six RBI in the first two games of the series, had the night
off. ... Nixon has three homers in 17 games since coming off the
disabled list Sept. 7.