Pedro Martinez was outstanding when he had to be, which was just about all game.
He got his usual sparse offensive support and faced baseball's highest scoring team. So when Magglio Ordonez's routine grounder to shortstop Nomar Garciaparra turned into a bad-hop double in the ninth, Martinez reached back for his best the fastball.
"That shows how good he is, to sit back and stay in control after that fluke play," Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. "He seizes the moment. He doesn't let the moment seize him."
"It was a big test," Martinez said. "I had to battle my way back."
He won his second straight start after a rough stretch in which he was winless in four consecutive starts and didn't pitch in the All-Star game because of a strained side muscle that put him on the disabled list.
On Sunday, he silenced the bats of a team that had been averaging 6.2 runs per game and has baseball's best record (61-37).
"For me, that's as good as it gets, pitching-wise," Red Sox manager Jimy Wiliams said. "I don't think it can get any better when you factor in the types of hitters they have. I think he finished with a few of his best fastballs of the day."
Martinez pitched his fourth complete game and third shutout of the season, outdueling Mike Sirotka (9-8), who got his first complete game of the year. The White Sox were so frustrated that after Ray Durham took a third strike in the eighth inning, manager Jerry Manuel was ejected for questioning the call.
Then coach Von Joshua was thrown out after he spread a towel on the top step of the dugout, indicating his view of the size of the strike zone that umpire Brian O'Nora was giving Martinez.
"If they give me that, I guarantee I'll strike out 20," Martinez said.
Sirotka walked two and didn't complain about the strike zone.
"The umpire was fair to me," he said. "When Pedro had a couple of guys at second base, he got a couple of big strikeouts. That's why he's the best pitcher on the planet."
The only run Sirotka allowed was unearned as shortstop Jose Valentin fielded Izzy Alcantara's grounder in the fourth and threw it in the dugout for a two-base error. Varitek then singled in the winning run.
"It was the only mistake of the game and it cost us," Valentin said.
Martinez did have one problem that has plagued him all season a lack of offensive support. Boston has scored more than three runs only twice and totaled just 21 runs in his last nine starts.
"His day will come," Varitek said. "He'll be able to take his five innings and go home and we'll score a bunch of runs."
The Red Sox wasted several chances as cleanup hitter Ed Sprague stranded five runners.
Boston threatened in the first when Brian Daubach doubled and took third on Garciaparra's groundout. But Sprague grounded to Valentin, ending the inning. In the third, Sprague grounded out to shortstop again with runners at second and third and two outs.
And in the fifth, with runners at first and second, he ended the inning with another grounder to Valentin, who flipped the ball to second baseman Durham for the forceout.
Martinez struggled in the seventh when singles by Chris Singleton and Lee put runners on first and second with two outs. But Herbert Perry struck out for the third time. Singleton had two hits and was the only Chicago player not to strike out.
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