Series: Game 4 of 4

Series tied 2-2 (as of 7/25)

Game 1: Tuesday, July 23
Tampa Bay 4Final
Boston 22
Game 2: Tuesday, July 23
Tampa Bay 5Final
Boston 4
Game 3: Wednesday, July 24
Tampa Bay 9Final
Boston 5
Game 4: Thursday, July 25
Tampa Bay 0Final
Boston 6

Devil Rays 0

(32-68, 14-38 away)

Red Sox 6

(59-41, 26-23 home)

    7:05 PM ET, July 25, 2002

    Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 000000000 0 - -
    BOS 20300100 - 6 - -

    W: P. Martinez (13-2)

    L: L. De Los Santos (0-2)

    Martinez improves to 4-0 over his last five starts

    BOSTON (AP) -- Pedro Martinez improved to 9-1 after Red Sox losses and he's not happy about it.

    Pedro Martinez


    In his last five starts, the Red Sox's Pedro Martinez has a 0.79 ERA with 50 strikeouts.

    "I don't really want to pitch after losses. I want to pitch after wins,'' he said after Boston's 6-0 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday night that extended his dominating streak to a 4-0 record and 0.79 ERA in his last five starts.

    Boston lost the previous two games of the series against the worst team in the majors, so Martinez had to deliver in a familiar role -- getting the Red Sox back on the winning track.

    "It actually makes me focus a little more because I know that's my responsibility. That's why I'm called the ace of the team,'' he said.

    Martinez (13-2) struck out 11 Devil Rays and allowed two singles and one walk in eight innings before Chris Haney gave up a single in the ninth.

    The three-time Cy Young Award winner lowered his ERA to 2.50. In his last 34 1/3 innings over five starts, he has 50 strikeouts while giving up eight walks, 20 hits and three earned runs. He leads the AL with 169 strikeouts, 46 more than runnerup Roger Clemens.

    "Just his presence out there makes you feel intimidated,'' Tampa Bay's Ben Grieve said.

    Trot Nixon hit his 15th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the first, and Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek hit back-to-back homers off Luis De Los Santos (0-2) in the third. Varitek scored Boston's other run on a double, a groundout and a sacrifice fly by Brian Daubach in the sixth.

    That was much more than the Red Sox needed for their first win since a 22-4 rout of the Devil Rays in the opener of Tuesday's day-night doubleheader, After that, Boston lost 5-4 and 9-5 as Tampa Bay won two straight road games against AL teams for the first time since May 21-22 in Seattle.

    "He is the kind of pitcher who wants to be out there in situations like that,'' Red Sox manager Grady Little said of Martinez.

    In the 250th start of his career Thursday, Tampa Bay put just four runners on base against him, two on singles by Carl Crawford and Randy Winn.

    "It was vintage Pedro,'' Devil Rays manager Hal McRae said. "Pedro was more of a finesse pitcher than a power pitcher tonight.''

    Martinez has made that adjustment after a shoulder injury limited him to 18 starts last season. And he's still not taking his health for granted.

    "I'm not confident,'' he said. "It's not going to be over until the season's over and I know I'm healthy.''

    After retiring the first eight batters, four on strikeouts, he gave up a single to Crawford, who took third when first baseman Jose Offerman let Martinez's pickoff throw get past him for an error. Winn walked and stole second, but Andy Sheets struck out to end the inning.

    Martinez retired the side in order in the fourth, then hit Grieve with the first pitch of the fifth. It came after Daubach nearly was hit in the fourth by De Los Santos and drew a warning to Martinez and both benches from home-plate umpire Mike Everitt.

    "I know what to do,'' Martinez said. "I protect my players.''

    Before the bottom of the fifth, Everitt talked with De Los Santos.

    "The umpire told me to be careful,'' he said. "I wasn't throwing at anybody.''

    Martinez set down the next three batters after hitting Grieve, then Winn singled to start the sixth. But Sheets struck out for the third time and Aubrey Huff grounded into a double play. He then retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth.

    "They were so young and anxious to swing that they swung at some bad changeups,'' Martinez said.

    The Red Sox needed just two batters to take a 2-0 lead. Johnny Damon started the first with a single and Nixon followed with his homer.

    Boston made it 5-0 in the third, scoring three runs with two outs. After Nixon walked, Ramirez hit his 17th homer and fifth in five games. The next hitter, Varitek, followed with his seventh homer.

    Game notes

    De Los Santos issued two walks, both to Nixon. ... Varitek extended his hitting streak to 11 games and Nixon increased his to 10, both season highs. ... Tampa Bay's John Flaherty had his hitting streak stopped at six games. ... Damon stretched his errorless streak to 219 games, best in the majors. ... Martinez struck out at least 10 for the seventh time in 21 starts this season, the 58th with Boston and the 85th in his career.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press