Martinez struck out 11 and gave up just two hits in eight
innings as the Boston Red Sox beat the Padres 5-0 on Thursday night.Martinez (8-2) was coming off losses to Atlanta and Arizona, the
first time he'd lost consecutive starts since September 1998.He fanned his first five batters and also struck out the side in
the fifth inning. After allowing Mark Kotsay's one-out single in
the third, the right-hander retired his last 17 batters.``If I'm on, if I have all my pitches, I'm normally a strikeout pitcher,'' Martinez said. ``I was just trying to stay away from trouble early in the game, because I know as the game goes on, I get better and better.''Martinez pitched in San Diego for the first time since 1996, when he was with Montreal. On June 3, 1995, at San Diego, Martinez became only the second pitcher in history to take a perfect game into extra innings, but allowed a leadoff double in the 10th to Bip Roberts in the Expos' 1-0 victory.Martinez, who baffled the Padres with his changeup, fastball and
curve, allowed only two singles, the other to D'Angelo Jimenez with
two outs in the second. He got 21 of 24 outs either by strikeout or
groundball, and walked one.``He just keeps getting better and better,'' Boston manager Grady Little said. ``His changeup was the best we've seen, and his command was the best we've seen.''Little thought Martinez looked good in his previous start, a
loss at Atlanta in which he allowed just two runs on eight hits in
his first complete game of the year.
``I said that was his best, but tonight topped that,'' Little said.The Red Sox are more concerned with Martinez's health than
getting him a shutout, so he didn't pitch the ninth, particularly
since the Red Sox had a long at-bat in the top of the inning, when
they scored two runs.A minor rotator cuff tear limited Martinez to a 7-3 record and
18 starts last season.``The last three outings, I've been feeling pretty good. It's
just the other pitchers really matched me up and did their job,''
said Martinez, who faced Curt Schilling and Kevin Millwood in his
last two starts.On Thursday, he opposed rookie Kevin Pickford, filling in after Bobby Jones was scratched with tendinitis in his right elbow.``Today that young kid did really well until he walked me, and
we took full advantage of it,'' Martinez said. ``Today I caught the
breaks and we scored first and I was able to hold them.''Martinez scored the first run for the Red Sox, who lead the
majors with nine shutouts. Nomar Garciaparra hit a two-run triple
in the ninth and finished with three RBIs. Rickey Henderson scored
three times.``He didn't just power his way through us, he pitched,'' Padres
manager Bruce Bochy said. ``He had great stuff.''Said Ryan Klesko: ``It's been a long time since we've seen him.
He's cutting it, sinking it. He threw everything. He was on.'' Chris Haney finished with a perfect ninth.It was the fifth time this year Martinez struck out 10 or more,
and the 83rd time in his career, which is sixth on the all-time
list.Johnny Damon hit a two-run triple in the fifth, with Martinez
aboard on a two-out walk and Henderson on a single. Garciaparra
doubled in Henderson in the seventh.Pickford (0-2) lasted only 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on
four hits. He struck out two and walked two.Pickford, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Portland on
May 16, was making his third start and 10th appearances for the
Padres, who've won only one game in which he's pitched.
Ozzie Smith, who will go into the Hall of Fame this summer,
was honored before the game in a ceremony emceed by Hall of Famer
Dave Winfield. Smith played the first four years of his career with
the Padres, from 1978-81. Instead of a ceremonial first pitch,
Smith threw from the shortstop position to a 10-year-old Little
Leaguer at first base. ... Jones was pushed back to Saturday
against the Yankees. ... The Yankees visit San Diego for the first
time since completing their sweep of the 1998 World Series. ...
David Wells, who grew up in San Diego, will start for the Yankees
on Friday night against rookie Oliver Perez, who beat the Mariners
on Sunday in his big league debut. ... Padres 1B Klesko injured his
right wrist and forearm diving for a ball in the fourth inning. He
left as part of a double-switch in the seventh. ... San Diego
rookie Julius Matos lost his grip on his bat in the eighth inning
and it sailed into the crowd, striking a fan in the head. The fan
walked out with a compress on his head.