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Pedro's arm alive in freezing weather, Red Sox roll

4/18/2003

BOSTON (AP) -- On one of the coldest nights of his career, Pedro Martinez bounced right back from his worst outing ever.

Martinez allowed two hits in seven innings, then retreated to
the warmth of the clubhouse as the Boston Red Sox won their fourth
straight game, 6-0 over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Thursday.

"The conditions weren't favorable for anybody throwing the
baseball,'' Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. "You're talking
about one of the most competitive pitchers in baseball.''

Several players wore hoods under their caps that left only their
eyes and noses exposed to temperatures that dropped from a gametime
33 degrees. The wind was blowing at 15 mph when Martinez threw his
first pitch to Carl Crawford, who flied out to center.

By the ninth inning, the temperature was 31 with a wind chill of
21.

"Tonight was the coldest I think I've played in,'' said
Boston's Kevin Millar, who drove in two runs with his fourth homer
and a single in the four-run sixth. "Once that wind kicks up, it
bites you in the ear.''

Despite that, Martinez was eager to come back from last
Saturday's outing in which he allowed 10 runs, all earned, and nine
hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 13-6 loss to Baltimore. He was booed as
he left the field.

Perhaps irked by that reaction, he declined to speak to
reporters after Thursday's game.

"The guy's one of the best pitchers in baseball, year after
year after year after year,'' Varitek said. "The guy has one bad
outing and it's turned into something it's not.''

In his other three appearances, Martinez (1-1) has allowed one
earned run in 22 innings.

"I pulled off every pitch today because I was afraid of getting
jammed,'' said Al Martin, 0-for-3 against Martinez before a
ninth-inning single against Mike Timlin. "Once he gets you in that
frame of mind, you've got no chance.''

Martinez allowed just one runner to reach second base. He struck
out three and walked three, five days after he was roughed up in
Boston's home opener.

But he dominated Thursday while Devil Rays starter Joe Kennedy
(0-1) unraveled in the sixth as Boston improved to 6-1 this season
against Tampa Bay.

"I had never pitched in anything below 50 degrees,'' Kennedy
said. "My arm felt good and I had good life on my ball. I was just
cold.''

Timlin pitched the final two innings to finish the four-hitter
as the Red Sox swept Tampa Bay for the ninth time in 26 series in
the Devil Rays' six seasons.

Millar gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the fourth, they scored
four runs on six hits in the sixth, and Doug Mirabelli added his
first homer of the season in the eighth.

The only hits off Martinez were a two-out single by Aubrey Huff
in the first and a one-out single by Marlon Anderson in the
seventh.

In the first, Huff went to second when Ben Grieve walked before
Martin fouled out to first baseman Shea Hillenbrand. In the
seventh, Anderson was erased when Damion Easley hit into a double
play.

"I've seen his velocity better,'' Tampa Bay manager Lou
Piniella said of Martinez. "Even when he doesn't have his real
good fastball, he's very formidable.''

Boston manager Grady Little said Martinez was motivated by his
poor outing.

"This is a proud human being,'' Little said. "He got out there
tonight on a mission, as he will probably every start the rest of
the season.''

Martinez's previous worst outing before Saturday was July 18,
1999, when he gave up nine runs to the Florida Marlins five days
after being named MVP of the All-Star game. He went on the disabled
list after that start.

Boston's rally in the sixth began with back-to-back doubles by
Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez. Millar singled in Ramirez for
a 3-0 lead. Hillenbrand then hit into a double play.

But Mirabelli and Bill Mueller singled before Varitek drove both
home with a triple to straightaway center. Kennedy left and Mike
Venafro got the last out of the inning.

Game notes
Mirabelli was 0-for-15 this season before his sixth-inning
single. ... Rocco Baldelli's hitting streak ended at 13 games, a
Tampa Bay rookie record. ... Varitek was in a 1-for-23 slump before
going 2-for-4. ... Tampa Bay lost its 500th game in its six-year
history.

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