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Martinez has shortest outing of season

5/2/2004

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Pedro Martinez had his shortest outing of the season for Boston,
giving up six runs in four innings, and the Texas Rangers won 8-5
to complete a sweep in the doubleheader matching division leaders.

Martinez announced Friday that he plans to test the
free-agent market in the offseason. The three-time Cy Young winner
won't be very attractive to anybody pitching the way he did
Saturday night.

In the first game, Texas broke a streak of 32 1/3 consecutive
scoreless innings by Boston's bullpen with a three-run seventh to
win 4-3.

The Rangers, the best-hitting team in the majors and the AL West
leader, batted around in a four-run third. They added another run
in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead before Martinez (3-2) was replaced
by Leonard DiNardo to start the next inning.

"He misfired with his fastball in a lot of instances," manager
Terry Francona said. "It just never allowed him to get in any kind
of rhythm. Pretty obvious, it was a battle for him right form the
get-go. He wasn't hitting his target."

Francona said Martinez just had an off night, and that it was
not related to the pitcher's decision to have no more talks during
the season with the Red Sox about a new contract.

Joaquin Benoit (1-0) pitched seven solid innings for Texas,
allowing two runs on six hits. Rod Barajas had three of Texas' 14
hits, including a two-run double in the eighth.

The Red Sox scored three runs in the ninth off Carlos Almanzar
and Jay Powell before closer Francisco Cordero relieved with
runners on second and third and one out. Cordero induced Bill
Mueller to fly out to short-center and struck out David Ortiz for
his second save of the day and ninth of the season.

Despite the sweep, Boston still leads the AL East, by 2½ games
over Baltimore.

In 11 previous starts against Texas, Martinez was 8-1 with a
1.45 ERA. And the Red Sox gave him a quick 1-0 lead with
Johnny Damon's leadoff triple and Mueller's sacrifice fly.

Texas got even in the bottom of the first on Hank Blalock's
fifth homer. After going 1-2-3 in the second, with help from
David Dellucci getting thrown out trying to stretch a double, Martinez
struggled through the third.

After three straight singles to start the third, including
Michael Young's tiebreaking hit, Alfonso Soriano had a two-run
double. Soriano scored on Brian Jordan's first hit in Texas, an
infield single.

"If you go in with an elaborate game plan against him, that
will take you out the game before it even starts," Blalock said.

Barajas and Young had consecutive one-out doubles in the fourth,
the last of a season-high nine hits allowed by Martinez, who struck
out three.

The previous shortest outing for Martinez was April 15 against
Baltimore, when he gave up seven runs in five innings.

In the first game, Blalock's sacrifice fly in the seventh sent
home the go-ahead run, after a pair of hit-and-run plays produced
the tying run and the Rangers snapped Boston's six-game winning
streak.

Boston's bullpen hadn't given up a run in 11 games, since April
17 against the Yankees.

Mark Malaska (1-1) gave up a single to Dellucci, the only batter
he faced and the runner Blalock drove home to make it 3-2. Soriano
then had an RBI double.

Red Sox starter Bronson Arroyo allowed two runs on three hits
over six-plus innings. He twice hit Eric Young, who scored both
times.

Erasmo Ramirez (1-1) had a perfect seventh against Boston's
1-2-3 hitters. Cordero pitched the ninth for the save.

Notes: The scoreless streak by Boston's bullpen was the longest in
the majors since St. Louis' 34 in a row in 2002. ... The Red Sox
played their second doubleheader in three days. They won both games
in a day-night twinbill Thursday at Fenway Park. ... Manny Ramirez
struck out in his only four plate appearances in Game 1, his first
four-strikeout game since July 23, 2002 against Tampa Bay. He was
1-for-4 with another strikeout in Game 2.