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Martinez, Ramirez overpower Devil Rays in win

9/12/2002

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Pedro Martinez gave Boston a big
lift.

Martinez got his 150th career win as he rejoined Boston's
rotation, and Manny Ramirez hit his 15th career grand slam as the
Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-3 Wednesday night.

Martinez (18-4), sidelined since Aug. 28 by a sore left groin
and hip, gave up three runs and seven hits over six innings.

"It was a very gutsy performance by Pedro,'' Boston manager
Grady Little said. "It was very impressive.''

Martinez struck out eight and walked two, helping Boston improve
to 13-2 against the Devil Rays this season. The right-hander
admitted he thought about winning another Cy Young Award, but it's
not a top priority right now.

"Health is first. The team is first. And getting into
contention is first,'' Martinez said. "I feel confident enough
that I might be able to make the last three or four starts I have
left.''

Ramirez hit 29th homer, and third in as many games, during a
five-run fifth. He has eight homers and 24 RBI against Tampa Bay
this season.

Ugueth Urbina got three straight outs for his 33rd save in 38
chances. Boston began the night 7½ games behind the Anaheim Angels
-- who played later Wednesday -- in the AL wild-card race.

John Flaherty homered and had three RBI for the Devil Rays,
hitting a two-run homer in the second. He had gone 182 at-bats
without a homer since going deep against Oakland 20-game winner
Barry Zito on June 1. His other two homers this season came off
Seattle's Freddy Garcia and Joel Pineiro.

"Fortunately for me, I got some fastballs to hit,'' Flaherty
said. "I can't hit his slider and his changeup if I was looking
for it. I look for his heater, and I hope that he gives me one to
hit. Tonight he did.''

The Devil Rays, at 48-97, are three losses from becoming the
first team with consecutive 100-loss seasons since the 1977-79
Toronto Blue Jays.

Ramirez struck out in two earlier at-bats against Paul Wilson
(6-10) before putting the Red Sox ahead 4-2 with his first grand
slam since Aug. 19, 2001. Ramirez thrust his right arm into the air
as he headed down the first-base line.

Ramirez declined comment after the game. He did say through a
team spokesman that "it felt good too help the team win.''

"I'm playing hard. I'm going to do whatever I can to help the
team.''

Brian Daubach's RBI single later in the fifth made it 5-2.

Wilson allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff went 0-for-4, ending his career-high
17-game hitting streak.

There were no batters hit by pitches. The closest came in the
seventh when Boston's Cliff Floyd hit the dirt on a high-and-tight,
2-2 pitch from Wilson Alvarez. Floyd added an RBI single in the
ninth.

A pitcher had been ejected in the each of the first two games in
the series after hitting a batter with a pitch.

Game notes
A ball thrown from the stands landed near the mound while
Martinez was pitching. It bounced harmlessly toward the left side
of the infield. "I wondered, why me?'' Martinez said. ... U.S.
Army Gen. Tommy Franks was part of a pregame program marking the
anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. "I'm so proud of you because
you represent the spirit of a great nation,'' Franks told the crowd
of 12,415. "You represent the support that all of us need to
finish the job. And we will finish the job.'' ... Franks placed the
ceremonial first pitch ball on the pitching rubber next to a red
rose in honor of those killed. ... Umpire Bruce Dreckman missed the
game because of a back injury. He was replaced by Matt Hollowell.
... Only New York Yankees 3B Robin Ventura, with 16, has more grand
slams than Ramirez among active players.