Pedro rocked again in final regular-season start

Updated: September 28, 2006, 11:42 AM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Pedro Martinez hardly looks ready for the playoffs.

Baseball Today for 9/28
The Cardinals finally win thanks to Albert Pujols, but the Astros keep pace. The Mets look terrible in a loss to the Braves. What is Pedro Martinez's postseason status?

• Baseball Today 

The New York Mets' ace was rocked again in his final start of the regular season, giving up eight hits, seven runs and two homers in 2 2/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.

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.

Starting Pitcher
New York Mets

23 9 7 39 137 4.48

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.

The Braves went down 1-2-3 in the first, though Chipper Jones gave a glimpse of things to come when he hit a drive to center that was caught on the warning track by Carlos Beltran.

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