Pedro rocked again in final regular-season start
ATLANTA -- Pedro Martinez hardly looks ready for the playoffs.
|Baseball Today for 9/28|
Martinez, who recently spent a month on the disabled list with a strained right calf, was in danger of his third straight loss since being activated and fourth in a row overall. He was yanked after giving up a run-scoring double to fellow pitcher Tim Hudson, who gave the Braves a 7-0 lead.
Manager Willie Randolph walked slowly to the mound and had a brief chat with Martinez. Third baseman David Wright tried to perk up the pitcher, patting him several times on his right shoulder before he trudged to the dugout.
The poor outing throws into question how the NL East champion Mets will set up their rotation for the playoffs, which begin next week with the best-of-five division series. Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez are set to start, but Randolph had hoped to use Martinez in Game 1.
New York Mets
The Mets may have to go with another option. Martinez has a 16.97 earned-run average over his last four starts, giving up 22 hits and 20 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings.
Martinez insisted a day earlier that he was over his calf problem, but he sure didn't pitch like it. Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur hit back-to-back homers in a six-run third that knocked out the right-hander, who never appeared to get comfortable. He went behind the mound several times to clean mud out of his cleats, and also fiddled frequently with the resin bag.
Andruw Jones started the second with a walk and came around to score on Brian McCann's double, which rolled to the wall in right-center.
The Braves blew it open in the third. Marcus Giles led off with a single, Edgar Renteria doubled and Chipper Jones hit a run-scoring single to right. Andruw Jones grounded into a forceout, driving in another run, and McCann followed with a two-run shot over the wall in left-center on a 2-0 pitch.
Martinez then fell behind to Francoeur, who drove another one over the wall in nearly the same spot on a 3-1 breaking ball that hung over the plate. Scott Thorman struck out swinging, but Ryan Langerhans singled to right and Hudson drove one all the way to the wall in left-center for a run-scoring double.
That was it for Martinez, who was replaced by Darren Oliver. He got out of the inning by fanning Giles, the 10th hitter to come up in the third.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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