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Martinez Flops, Red Sox Win


Nothing felt right for Pedro Martinez as he pitched the worst game of his career Sunday.

Except for the score.

The Florida Marlins shelled him for nine runs and 12 hits in 3 2-3 innings, then squandered a 9-5 lead and lost 11-9 to the Boston Red Sox.

"It was just a bad day on the mound. I didn't have anything," Martinez said. "I'm glad my teammates bailed me out. They always try hard for me."

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Game Summary

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  • The nine runs were the most Martinez has allowed in 172 career starts but he avoided the loss thanks to John Valentin, whose four RBIs included a two-run, wind-aided triple that gave Boston a 10-9 lead in the eighth against Vladimir Nunez (3-3). Lou Merloni added a sacrifice fly in the inning.

    "The offense definitely feels the pressure in the sense that he's picked us up all year," Valentin said of Martinez' struggles. "Today was a good sign. We battled back with our ace on the mound."

    After striking out five National Leaguers in two hitless innings in Tuesday night's All-Star game at Fenway Park, Martinez saw his ERA rise from 2.10 to 2.51, still the best in the majors.

    Martinez, baseball's winningest pitcher at 15-3, said his lack of work recently may have hurt him. In the past 10 days, he threw only 28 pitches, all in the All-Star game.

    "My pitches weren't working. I was off, probably, with everything," Martinez said.

    The previous high for runs off Martinez was seven by San Francisco on July 14, 1994 and Toronto on May 25, 1998.

    "He's not superhuman," Boston manager Jimy Williams said. "I think Cy Young lost a few."

    Derek Lowe (1-2) pitched two shutout innings and Tim Wakefield threw a hitless ninth for his 12th save. In 5 1-3 scoreless innings, relievers Lowe, Wakefield and Rich Garces allowed two hits.

    Marlins starter Ryan Dempster also struggled, leaving after consecutive run-scoring doubles by Jose Offerman and Valentin pulled Boston to 9-7 in the fourth. Valentin made it a one-run game with sacrifice fly in the sixth.

    "I was thinking it was our day because he (Martinez) wasn't obviously himself," Florida manager John Boles said. "But I didn't think the game was ours."

    Florida, just 34-58, took a 2-0 lead in the first but consecutive Red Sox homers a two-run shot by Jason Varitek and a solo homer by Damon Buford put Boston up 3-2 in the second.

    Florida went ahead with three runs in the third, but Boston tied the game in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Brian Daubach and a sacrifice fly by Nomar Garciaparra.

    Martinez didn't make it out of the fourth.

    "He left a few balls over the plate and we were able to put a good swing on them," Marlins center fielder Preston Wilson said.

    Mike Lowell started the fourth with a single, took third on Jorge Fabregas' double and both scored on Luis Castillo's single. Castillo then stole second and reached third on a single by Alex Gonzalez.

    Bruce Aven's single drove in Castillo. Martinez retired the next two batters, but allowed Wilson's RBI single and was replaced by Garces, who got out of the jam.

    The Marlins had scored twice in the first on an RBI single by Kevin Millar and a sacrifice fly by Mark Kotsay. Martinez hit Danny Bautista with a pitch behind the left ear in the second but got out of the inning with a strikeout and a double play. Bautista left the game for precautionary X-rays that were negative.

    Boston got a boost from two outstanding catches by center fielder Buford with Florida leading 9-8 in the seventh and a runner on first with one out. On consecutive at bats, he banged into the wall and caught the long drives by Lowell and Fabregas.

    "You've got to go after those balls because if they fall in they score runs," Buford said.

    And the Marlins already had scored plenty off Martinez.

    "A lot of times you get lethargic when your ace gets pounded, but we just kept plugging," catcher Varitek said.

    Notes:

  • The Red Sox promoted RHP Tomokazu Ohka from Triple-A Pawtucket of the International League. He was 8-0 with Double-A Trenton and 3-0 at Pawtucket this season. Ohka, who pitched last year in Japan, is scheduled to start Monday night against Florida
  • Martinez lost his last start before the All-Star game, 3-2 to Tampa Bay
  • Boston is 5-11 in interleague play this season, while Florida is 10-6. the Marlins' 31-16 interleague record is the best in the majors
  • Offerman, in a 7-for-57 slump, went 3-for-3 with two walks.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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