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Martinez walks six, one short of his career high

4/23/2003

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Pedro Martinez still isn't talking,
although his pitching performance said plenty.

Despite a rare bout of wildness and some stiffness in his back,
Martinez allowed just an unearned run on three hits in seven
innings to lead the Boston Red Sox past the Texas Rangers 5-4
Tuesday night.

"I don't think the kid was that wild. In a couple of situations
he had to make pitches, he made pitches," Red Sox manager Grady
Little said. "He was fine. He threw the most pitches he's thrown
this year and held up good."

Little wasn't specific about the stiffness Martinez had, but
said it wasn't anything that would cause the right-hander to miss
any time. But the manager conceded it could have contributed to
Martinez's six walks, one short of his career high.

"But a guy pitches like that and pitches deep into the game,
you don't worry about him," Little said.

Martinez (2-1) again declined to answer questions after the
game, continuing a self-imposed silence for which he is yet to give
a reason. The three-time Cy Young winner hasn't spoken to reporters
since before his last start, Thursday against Tampa Bay when he
allowed two singles in seven shutout innings.

Manny Ramirez homered and had three hits for the Red Sox (14-6),
who won for the eighth time in 10 games.

The six walks were the most for Martinez since he walked six New
York Yankees on Sept. 8, 1998. He also had a season-high eight
strikeouts, throwing 70 of 121 pitches for strikes before leaving
with the Red Sox ahead 5-1.

"He doesn't have to have his best stuff to shut down a team,"
Rangers slugger Rafael Palmeiro said. "We had some chances, but
when he's up against the ropes, he comes out firing."

After a two-out walk to Chad Kreuter loaded the bases in the
seventh, Martinez got Michael Young to swing at a full-count pitch
out of the zone. The Rangers had two of their three hits off
Martinez that inning.

After Mike Timlin relieved to start the eighth, Alex Rodriguez
and Palmeiro had consecutive doubles. Juan Gonzalez hit his fifth
homer, his first extra-base hit in 11 games, to make it 5-4.

But Chad Fox got five outs for his second save, retiring
Rodriguez and Palmeiro with a runner on to end it. After costing
Martinez a win on opening day, the shaky Boston bullpen has held
the lead in his last two starts.

Martinez hasn't allowed an earned run since giving up a
career-worst 10 runs in 4 1-3 innings against Baltimore on April
12. In his four starts other than that horrendous outing, Martinez
has allowed just three runs -- one earned -- over 29 innings.

"His control wasn't what it normally is, but he seems to take
it up another gear or two when he needs an out," Rangers manager
Buck Showalter said. "You have no margin for error against a guy
like that."

The Red Sox led 2-0 after just 12 pitches by Chan Ho Park (1-3).

Johnny Damon drew a leadoff walk before Todd Walker's RBI double
into the right-center field gap. After Nomar Garciaparra's single,
Ramirez hit a run-scoring single.

Park then needed just three pitches to get three outs, a double
play and a flyout. That started a stretch of 11 straight batters
retired.

"I was one hitter away from taking him out, but he showed a lot
of fight," Showalter said.

In his longest outing of the season, Park allowed four runs on
eight hits over seven innings. He struck out three and walked two.
Ramirez hit a solo homer in the eighth off reliever Esteban Yan.
Gonzalez's run-scoring groundout in the fourth scored Rodriguez,
who drew a leadoff walk and went to third after a wild pitch and a
throwing error by catcher Jason Varitek.

Shea Hillenbrand led off the fifth with a single, the first
Boston baserunner since that opening flurry, and Jeremy Giambi
walked. Varitek and Walker had RBI singles to put Boston up 4-1.

Game notes
Martinez is 7-1 with a 1.30 ERA in nine career starts
against Texas. He is 18-2 with a 2.29 ERA in his 30 March/April
starts for Boston the past six years. ... Carl Everett was 1-for-4
with a single and three strikeouts after homering in five straight
games with an at-bat, a Rangers record. He was named AL player of
the week Monday after going 10-for-21 (.476) in six games last
week. ... Eight of Boston's starters reached base against Park, six
with hits and two others with walks.

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