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Martinez dominant over eight shutout innings

7/1/2002

BOSTON (AP) -- Just when Pedro Martinez is pitching consistently
like an All-Star, he's decided not to be one.

He struck out 14 in eight innings as the Boston Red Sox beat the
Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 Monday night. Then he said being ready to
help his team in the second half of the season is more important
than pitching for the AL All-Stars, so he declined the invitation.

''It's a perfect time for me to take a little break and make
sure I continue to be the way I have,'' he said, ''because I
wouldn't trade a World Series for an All-Star.''

Boston's second win in nine games moved it within 1½ games of
the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East on a day when the
Yankees may have picked up something more important.

They obtained Raul Mondesi from the Blue Jays before the game
for minor league left-hander Scott Wiggins as Toronto dumped salary
and continued its rebuilding process. New York, idle Monday, plays
Cleveland at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday with Mondesi expected to be
in uniform.

Martinez (10-2) said he wished the Yankees didn't get Mondesi,
''but for Mondesi, I feel great. He's a very close friend and I
know he needs a winning team. I would have loved to have him
here.''

The Red Sox finally got production from Tony Clark, who has been
in a season-long slump. He had a double and single and drove in two
runs off Steve Parris (0-2). But he's hitting only .216 and has
just one homer since he connected on Opening Day in a 12-11 loss to
Toronto in which Martinez gave up eight runs in three innings.

''I'm not naive enough to think the light gets turned off and
turned on that easily,'' said Clark, signed as a free agent after
seven seasons with Detroit. ''It was one night where I had some at
bats where the balls found some holes.''

He provided more than enough offense for Martinez, who threw 117
pitches. Alan Embree retired the side in order in the ninth.

Martinez missed much of last season with a shoulder injury and
has adjusted his pitching style to use fewer fastballs. He won his
first seven decisions, then went 0-2 in his next four starts. Since
then, he's 3-0 with 34 strikeouts and one walk in three starts.

''I'm not as strong as I want to feel or as I have been,'' he
said. Declining the All-Star invitation ''is the smartest thing to
do at this point.''

Mondesi was in the original lineup and was replaced in the third
spot by Eric Hinske. The rookie third baseman went 0-for-4 with
four strikeouts. Martinez got five straight outs on strikeouts when
he struck out the side in the fifth and fanned the first two
batters in the sixth.

''The '27 Yankees couldn't hit that guy tonight,'' Toronto
manager Carlos Tosca said. ''He had a great feel for what he wants
to do to a hitter. He exploits the hitters.''

Martinez gave up seven hits and used strikeouts to get out of
three of the four innings in which Toronto put men in scoring
position.

With two outs in the second, Wells doubled before Pedro Swann
was called out on strikes. With runners at first and second and two
outs in the fourth, Wells struck out swinging and Swann grounded
out. After Dave Berg's leadoff double in the eighth he got Shannon
Stewart on a groundout before striking out Jose Cruz Jr. and
Hinske.

''That's the best I've ever seen him,'' Stewart said. ''I've
always been able to pick up his ball. Tonight, he was lights out.''

The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second on singles by Jason
Varitek and Trot Nixon and a two-run single by Clark.

They made it 3-0 in the fourth when they loaded the bases on a
walk to Varitek, a double by Clark and a walk to Johnny Damon.
Varitek scored when Lou Merloni grounded into a forceout at second.

Boston made it 4-0 in the sixth when Nixon doubled. Clark walked
and when the last pitch got by Darrin Fletcher, Nixon slid into
third on a wild pitch. Nixon then scored on Damon's groundout.

Game notes
With two outs in the seventh, Felipe Lopez was thrown out
trying to steal third by Varitek. ... Boston 2B Carlos Baerga left
the game with a strained left hamstring. He hurt himself while
running out a groundout in the bottom of the third. ... Martinez
struck out at least 10 batters for the sixth time this season, 57th
with the Red Sox and 84th in his career. ... Martinez and Derek
Lowe (11-4) gave the Red Sox more than one 10-game winner at the
All-Star break since Martinez, Tim Wakefield and Bret Saberhagen
did it in 1998. ... Boston's 10 shutouts lead the majors, while
Toronto was blanked for only the third time.