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Pedro Still Perfect vs. Tribe

Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez pitches to Indians batter Kenny Lofton.
AP
Pedro Martinez can't be intimidated by taunts, boos or death threats. And as far as the Cleveland Indians are concerned, Martinez can't be beaten.

Martinez did it to Cleveland once again Thursday night, allowing four hits in seven innings to remain undefeated in his career against the Indians in leading the Boston Red Sox to a 7-4 win.

"He's the MVP of this team," Dante Bichette said. "He's so valuable I don't think it can even be measured. He's the most dominating pitcher that I've ever seen."

Martinez (17-5) improved to 7-0 in seven regular-season starts against the Indians. He's also 2-0 against Cleveland in the postseason, and has been branded Public Enemy No. 1 around Jacobs Field.

There was beefed up security for the series finale after Martinez revealed on Wednesday that his life had been threatened while warming up for Game 5 of the playoffs last season.

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  • Martinez said he got the same treatment as he got ready for this start.

    "They called me trash," he said. "They said I stunk. So I guess it was just another day at the office."

    That it was.

    Martinez was making his first appearance at Jacobs Field since April 30, when he hit Roberto Alomar with a pitch, earning a five-game suspension. He buzzed a couple of hitters, but baseball's best pitcher zeroed in on the strike zone when he needed to.

    Martinez struck out 10, including the side in the third and seventh, when the Indians put two on with none out.

    "A guy like Pedro doesn't bend under the pressure," Bichette said. "He just puts a 97 mph fastball on the outside corner. That's why he's Pedro."

    Even the Indians were in awe.
    "That was the same Pedro, hitting spots, beautiful," shortstop Omar Vizquel said. "Seeing that guy on the mound is like watching Manny (Ramirez) hitting. Unbelievable."

    Carl Everett went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and Bichette homered off Charles Nagy (2-5) as the Red Sox moved within two games of the Indians, who lead the AL wild card race.

    Before coming to Cleveland, Boston lost three of four games to the New York Yankees, putting its season on the brink. But just like last year's Red Sox, this group is showing it can come back, too.

    "It says that we are warriors and we don't give up," Martinez said. "We've battled back the whole season. We're known to do that."

    David Segui hit a two-run homer and an RBI single for the Indians, who play five games at Fenway Park next week, including back-to-back doubleheaders.

    Derek Lowe got four outs for his 34th save, his second of the series.

    Everett's two-run homer capped Boston's four-run sixth, with the Red Sox scoring all their runs with two outs. The Indians had a chance to get out of the inning, but first baseman Jim Thome couldn't come up with Trot Nixon's hard smash.

    The Red Sox scored their other runs in the inning on a wild pitch by reliever Justin Speier and Nomar Garciaparra's RBI double.

    Segui's homer in the fifth gave the Indians their first earned runs in 32 1-3 innings against Martinez, who had not allowed Cleveland to score since Sept. 15 last season, a span that includes the playoffs.

    "He's just so tough. I've never had an easy at-bat against him," Segui said. "You go up there thinking to just make contact, but he throws so hard. It's easy to say what to do and real hard to do it."

    Martinez retired the first 13 hitters so easily, it looked like he might be on his way to finally pitching the no-hitter that has somehow eluded him.

    Thome became Cleveland's first runner, drawing Martinez's lone walk before Segui hit his sixth homer since coming to the Indians in a July trade.

    Segui had been 3-for-24 with 11 strikeouts against Martinez before connecting.

    Before the game, Indians manager Charli Manuel said his scouting reports showed that Martinez hadn't been topping 92 mph on the radar gun recently.

    "He may not be able to blow the ball by us like he used to," Manuel said.

    But Martinez's fastball hit 98 mph several times in the third, when he needed 16 pitches to fan Travis Fryman, Russell Branyan and Sandy Alomar.

    Bichette put the Red Sox ahead 3-0 in the fourth with his fourth homer since coming to Boston in an Aug. 31 trade from Cincinnati.

    Nagy, making his first start since undergoing elbow surgery in May, fell behind 1-0 in the first when Everett reached on an infield single and Garciaparra followed with a double.

    Everett's wind-blown RBI double made it 2-0 in the third.

    Notes

  • Everett's steal of second in the fifth was just Boston's 39th steal this season. Only Oakland, which has 35, has fewer in the majors.
  • Indians manager Charlie Manuel was ejected in the seventh inning by third-base umpire Eric Cooper, who called Jim Thome out on a checked-swing.
  • The Indians added security personnel around the Boston dugout and bullpen in response to Martinez saying he received a death threat while warming up in last year's playoffs.
  • Martinez has 15 double-digit strikeout games this season. He had 19 last year.

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