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Boston Wins Battle Of The Sox

Pedro Martinez can eat now.

Martinez struck out 11 in seven innings to take over the AL lead and Reggie Jefferson hit a two-run homer to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.

"I had the power all night. It was just a matter of making good pitches early in the count," Martinez said. "Once I get ahead, I have a good chance of striking out somebody."

Martinez (8-2) gave up four hits and walked a season-high five. He raised his strikeout total to 124, passing Seattle's Randy Johnson (122) for the league lead.

It was the fewest runs allowed by Martinez in his last five starts. He had given up 23 earned runs in 24 innings over his four previous outings, serving up four home runs in each of his last two starts. The only blemish against Martinez Tuesday was a homer by Frank Thomas, his 11th, in the fifth.

"I couldn't sleep. Sometimes I couldn't eat," said Martinez of his struggles over the past few weeks. "That's not my style to look like that. I've never given up four home runs in a game. I know everybody goes through one of these. I'm glad I'm back."

Can he eat now?

"I can go back to sleep. I can eat I'm very skinny," he said, smiling.

Martinez threw a season-high 140 pitches and Boston manager Jimy Williams said he doesn't like to extend his starters that far. Martinez said he needed it.

"I felt that I needed to air it out and let it go, see what happens," Martinez said. "When I pitched to Albert Belle in the last inning, the last at-bat, I felt that was me back on the mound. I really felt it."

"He showed why he's the man," Boston catcher Scott Hatteberg said. "The last two innings, he was outstanding."

Martinez got the big outs when he needed them, ending the second through seventh inning on swinging strikeouts. He struck out four of the last five batters he faced.

"He was able to make good pitches in tough situations," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "A pitcher like he is can overcome errors or mistakes because he can strike you out."

Nomar Garciaparra and Lou Merloni each had three hits for the Red Sox, who've won five of six.

Jason Bere (3-6) was charged with five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.

"The layoff had nothing to do with it," said Bere, who hadn't pitched since June 8. "I felt pretty good but the results aren't there."

Jefferson hit his seventh home run in the first, scoring Darren Lewis who had walked.

Garciaparra hit an RBI single in the Boston fifth to make it 3-0.

After Thomas' homer, Troy O'Leary and Scott Hatteberg each singled in the Red Sox sixth to chase Bere. Merloni greeted Carlos Castillo with a two-run double.

Garciaparra tripld with one out in the seventh and scored on O'Leary's single.

Notes: Martinez's 11 strikeouts were one shy of his season high, accomplished in consecutive starts April 11 against Seattle and April 17 against Cleveland. This is the 32nd time in his career he has struck out 10 or more in a game. ... Thomas' home run was only his 11th hit in 54 at-bats. ... White Sox first baseman Wil Cordero left the game after four innings because of a migraine headache. He's day to day. ... Tuesday's game was Bere's 100th career start and his first since June 8. He had been skipped once so Manuel could adjust his rotation and break up the three left-handers, Jim Parque, Scott Eyre and Mike Sirotka.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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