<
>

Martinez throws seven shutout innings

9/22/2003

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Pedro Martinez wasn't about to let the AL
wild-card race get any wilder for the Boston Red Sox.

Martinez struck out 11 in seven shutout innings Sunday, keeping
Boston on track to make the playoffs as the Red Sox beat Cleveland
2-0 in the Indians' season finale at home.

"Pedro was on top of his game," Boston manager Grady Little
said. "It helps to have a Pedro to bring us back after a tough
loss."

Martinez (14-4) allowed four hits in winning his fourth straight
start this month. The right-hander's strong outing came one day
after starter Derek Lowe and Boston's bullpen blew a 4-1 lead in
the seventh inning and lost 13-4 to the Indians.

Martinez wouldn't allow it to happen again.

"He gives us so much confidence," first baseman Kevin Millar
said. "When he's out there, we know we can turn it over to the
offense and we should be able to take over. He just means so
much."

Boston increased its AL wild-card lead to 2{ games over Seattle,
which lost 12-0 at Oakland.

Martinez walked two and raised his season strikeout total to
204. It wasn't the first time he has shut down the Indians -- he
improved to 10-1 with a 1.66 ERA in 14 career starts against
Cleveland, and 5-0 in six starts at Jacobs Field.

"It seems like every time we had him on the ropes, he took it
up another notch," Indians first baseman Ben Broussard said.
"He'd throw a fastball 88 mph, the next one 92, and the next one
95. He's so polished."

And for a change, Boston's unpredictable bullpen was smooth,
too.

Mike Timlin worked a hitless eighth and Byung-Hyun Kim pitched
the ninth for his 15th save.

"We need our bullpen," catcher Jason Varitek said. "It can't
be, 'Pedro's done, uh-oh.' We believe in our bullpen. B.K. came in,
1-2-3, boom, did the job. We don't have time for guys to feel sorry
for themselves. They have to just take the ball and get back out
there. B.K. did that today."

Little has been searching for a closer most of the season, and
needs Kim, who hit two batters in the ninth on Friday night, to
gain confidence as the postseason approaching.

"B.K. was a welcome sight," Little said. "It was a big step
for him, very important. We need these guys to pitch good."

Manny Ramirez hit an RBI double in Boston's two-run second off
Indians rookie left-hander Cliff Lee (3-2), who nearly matched
Martinez pitch for pitch.

Lee allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings against
baseball's best hitting team.

"Seven innings, two runs, not bad against the Red Sox," Lee
said. "I'm satisfied with the outing, but not with the outcome."

Cleveland's best scoring threat off Martinez came in the seventh
inning when they loaded the bases.

Martinez walked Broussard with one out, and Victor Martinez
singled. Travis Hafner hit a fly ball deep enough to center to move
Broussard to third and pinch-hitter Josh Bard drew a walk.

But after falling behind 2-0 to pinch-hitter Angel Santos,
Martinez battled back and struck him out.

"When Pedro somehow gets into a situation like that, there is
nobody else I'd rather have in there to get out of it," Little
said.

The Red Sox were closer to full strength than they had been in
nearly a week. Johnny Damon returned after missing four games with
an abdominal strain, and Bill Mueller was back after sitting two
out with back spasms.

Ramirez, booed every time he came to the plate during the series
by Indians fans who haven't forgiven him for leaving as a free
agent, put the Red Sox up 1-0 with his double in the fourth.

Lee hit Todd Walker to open the inning and Ramirez followed with
a shot off the wall in left-center. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta's wild
relay throw home got by catcher Victor Martinez, and when Lee
didn't back up the plate, Ramirez went to third.

Kevin Millar brought Ramirez in with an RBI groundout.
^Notes:@ The Indians were shut out twice in the series and three
times in their final homestand. ... Martinez has 93 career
double-digit strikeout games. Sixty-six of those with the Red Sox,
two shy of Roger Clemens' club record. Martinez has recorded at
least 200 strikeouts in a season seven times. ... Boston 1B/DH
David Ortiz, who came in batting .143 (2-for-14) in his last four
games, got a day off. ... The Indians finished 38-43 at home, their
worst home record since going 35-46 at old Cleveland Stadium in
1987. It's the second straight year they've been under .500 at
home. The last time they did that was in 1973-74.