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Ortiz drives in go-ahead run in the eighth

9/17/2003

BOSTON (AP) -- Pedro Martinez was heading to the mound for the
ninth inning when he hugged the teammate who had just given him the
lead.

The Red Sox ace was thankful for David Ortiz's tie-breaking
single in the two-run eighth, and Ortiz had no doubt Martinez would
finish Boston's 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Tuesday
night.

"I wasn't surprised," Ortiz said. "This guy, he's a soldier,
and you've got to beat him up big time for him to give up."

Martinez (13-4) pitched a six-hitter in his third complete game
of the season. But he battled out of several jams and left the
potential tying run at second in the ninth when Julio Lugo popped
out to second baseman Damian Jackson. That secured Martinez's 100th
win in six seasons with Boston.

"He did an awesome job," said catcher Jason Varitek, who knew
Martinez would stay in even when manager Grady Little went to the
mound before Lugo came up.

"Petey wasn't about to give up the ball even if he asked for
it," Varitek said. "(Little) was just coming out there to give
him a moment to gain his thoughts and to finish his game."

Martinez struck out six and allowed one walk in his third win in
12 days.

The Red Sox, who won their third straight, took a 2{-game lead
in the wild-card race over Seattle, which lost to Texas, and stayed
5{ games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.

Martinez allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in four
innings and stranded runners at third in the sixth and seventh.

"Truthfully, I thought Pedro was hittable. I've seen him have
better stuff," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "He made
pitches when he had to. He has the confidence to make them."

The Red Sox, the best hitting team in the majors, got only five
hits but they came at critical times.

Todd Walker singled in a run for Boston in the third and Al
Martin tied it with a run-scoring, pinch-hit single in the eighth
that ended Martinez's scoreless streak at 15 innings.

The Red Sox scored the go-ahead runs in the eighth as Nomar
Garciaparra hit a leadoff double off Travis Harper (4-8). He took
third on Walker's groundout before Manny Ramirez was walked
intentionally.

"It pumped me up," Ortiz said. "They know I'm not the fastest
guy so I can hit a groundball for a double play, especially against
a lefty. But I tell myself I have to be patient.'

Lefty Joe Kennedy came in to face lefty Ortiz and threw three
straight balls. He came back with two strikes before Ortiz lined a
single to right that scored Garciaparra and sent Ramirez to third.

Adrian Brown ran for Ramirez and scored on Bill Mueller's
sacrifice fly. That became critical when Tampa Bay scored in the
ninth on a two-out single by Marlon Anderson. Defensive
indifference sent him to second, and Pete LaForest singled. But
Lugo popped to second to end it.

"They don't get much better than him," Martin said of
Martinez.

Martinez had to be sharp because Tampa Bay's Jeremi Gonzalez
pitched six solid innings, allowing just six runners and three
hits.

"Jeremi's pitched consistent for us all year," Piniella said.

Gonzalez faced Toronto's Roy Halladay in his last start, and the
Blue Jays won 3-1 as Halladay won his 20th game.

Martinez got into a jam in the seventh when Aubrey Huff tripled
on the first pitch. But Martinez needed just six pitches to retire
the next three batters and leave Huff at third.

Martinez allowed just three runners through the first six
innings. Damian Rolls was hit by a pitch in the second, Toby Hall
singled but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double in the
third and Hall doubled in the sixth with no outs, but was stranded
at third.

Game notes
CF Johnny Damon crashed into the scoreboard in left-center,
trying to catch Huff's triple, and lost his hat but stayed in the
game. ... In the bottom of the seventh, Tampa Bay CF Rocco Baldelli
leaped against the center-field wall to catch Andy Abad's drive.
... The Devil Rays have played 84 games decided by one or two runs.
... Ramirez drew his AL-leading 26th intentional walk in the
eighth. It broke his team record of 25 in 2001 for most by a
right-handed hitter. Lefty Ted Williams set the club record of 33
in 1957.