He says he's back, but the real Pedro Martinez doesn't take the mound thinking about pitching half of a game. The real Pedro Martinez doesn't answer to a pitch count, or look for good news in a team loss.
What the Cleveland Indians saw in their 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night was just a sample of the pitcher that dominated the AL in the first half of the season, then dominated the NL's best to win the All-Star game MVP.
And they're lucky that's all it was.
"It feels a little weird, because usually I'm the one that's allowed to go a little longer. But today was an exception," Martinez said after returning from his first-ever trip to the disabled list with a no-decision. "Hopefully next time I'll be out there for longer."
Martinez struck out seven in five innings before reaching his pitch count at 78, allowing one run, one walk and three hits. Seeking his 100th career victory, he left with a 4-2 lead before Tim Wakefield (3-8) blew his second save of the season.
Thome hit a solo homer off Martinez in the second inning, then added a two-run shot off Wakefield in the eighth to tie it 4-4. In the ninth, Wakefield walked two before Vizquel singled in David Justice for the game-winnr.
"Any time you can get a hit off Pedro, let alone a home run, it's kind of nice," Thome said. "Pedro's Pedro. He's always going to put his team in a position to win. I know he was on the disabled list, but he still had great stuff."
But not the stamina that has helped separate him from the others, at least before he went on the DL on July 19 with a sore right shoulder. He has three of Boston's four complete games this season, and only twice in his previous nine outings did he fail to go at least eight innings.
Martinez posted a 15-3 record with a 2.10 ERA in the first half and started for the AL in the All-Star game, striking out the first four batters he faced and five in all to win the game's MVP.
But in his first start after that he had the worst outing of his career: nine runs, seven earned, and 12 hits in 3 2-3 innings. After that, it was announced that he would miss a start for the first time in his major-league career.
"I went seven years without missing a start," he said. "Hopefully it will be another seven before I miss another one."
Jaret Wright, who was also activated on Tuesday after going on the DL on July 19 with a muscle strain in his right shoulder, allowed three runs, three hits and six walks in 4 2-3 innings.
"Pedro and Jaret were both feeling their way around in the first couple of innings. Jaret got it together and pitched very well," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "If Richie Sexson doesn't lose that ball in the sky, Jaret leaves the game giving up only one run."
After Martinez left, Cleveland made it 3-2 in the sixth on a run-scoring double-play gronder by Jacob Cruz. The Indians loaded the bases in the seventh on three walks by Bryce Florie, but Rheal Cormier got Vizquel to fly out to right to end the threat.
Boston made it 4-2 in the seventh on three singles and Mike Stanley's RBI walk.
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