BOSTON (AP) -- Pedro Martinez pitched brilliantly again. For a
change, his hitters helped him and relievers didn't get a chance to
He pitched his first complete game of the season and benefited
from a seven-run sixth inning as the Boston Red Sox beat the
Minnesota Twins 9-1 Saturday."That is one of the best games I have ever seen the guy
pitch,'' Boston manager Grady Little said. "That ball was darting
everywhere.''Martinez (3-1) struck out 12, walked none and allowed five hits
in his 39th career complete game. He gave up one earned run or less
for the fifth time in seven starts. Without the worst start of his
career -- 10 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against Baltimore and a
booing from Fenway Park fans -- he's allowed four earned runs in 45
innings, a 0.80 ERA, this season.But he entered the game with the lowest run support among Red
Sox starters and led only 2-1 before a seven-run burst in the
sixth, capped by former Twin David Ortiz's three-run double."He should have about five wins,'' Boston's Johnny Damon said.He might if relievers hadn't blown leads in two games. But the
bullpen, which squandered a 6-5 lead in the Twins' 11-7 win Friday
night, wasn't needed since Martinez threw only 108 pitches and
wasn't throwing with his usual velocity."He's learning how to pitch at a different level,'' catcher
Jason Varitek said, "moving the ball, getting some ground balls.
Pretty good when you have that many strikeouts and you get just
barely 100 pitches.''He threw just 14 to Jacque Jones, who struck out three times and
grounded out."You have to get to him early and we didn't,'' Jones said.
"He's not going to allow a big inning.''Martinez, who continued his postgame ban on interviews, went to
three balls on only four batters and had an efficient stretch when
he threw only nine pitches in the fifth, eight in the sixth and six
in the seventh. Martinez threw only 31 balls, and the Twins swung
at and missed 24 pitches."They rely on making contact,'' Damon said. "They weren't
making much contact today.''Martinez allowed a single by Corey Koskie in the first, a double
by Cristian Guzman and RBI single by Koskie in the third and
singles by Todd Sears and Dustan Mohr in the eighth.Boston went ahead 1-0 against Rick Reed in the second on a
single by Manny Ramirez, a double by Ortiz and a sacrifice fly by
Trot Nixon.Minnesota tied it in the fourth before Reed left the game in the
bottom of the inning after straining his lower back, and the Red
Sox reached his replacement, Tony Fiore (1-1), for a run in the
fifth.Varitek singled and stole second, went to third on a flyout and
scored on Todd Walker's single.Then Boston gave Martinez a big lead in the sixth."You have to stay close to him,'' Minnesota manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "If you give him a lead, he'll kill you.''Ortiz led off with a walk, took third on Kevin Millar's single
and scored on Nixon's single. Shea Hillenbrand then hit a potential
double play ball to third baseman Koskie. But his throw was dropped
by second baseman Luis Rivas, who was charged with an error,
loading the bases.Millar scored when Varitek grounded into a forceout at second.
And Nixon scored on Damon's sacrifice fly.Varitek stole second and took third on Walker's infield single.
Juan Rincon replaced Fiore and Koskie got an error when Nomar
Garciaparra's hard grounder went off his glove, allowing Varitek to
score."We missed some plays,'' Gardenhire said, "and when you miss
some plays against this offense, they're going to score some
runs.''Ramirez then walked to load the bases and Ortiz cleared them
with his double."It looked kind of funny'' facing the Twins, who let him become
a free agent after last season, Ortiz said. "But they let you go
for a reason and when you get a chance you want to do well.''
Boston had 13 hits and has at least 11 in each of its last
six games. ... Martinez struck out at least 10 batters for the 89th
time in his career and 62nd with Boston. Roger Clemens holds the
team record with 68. ... Hillenbrand's hitting streak ended at a
career-long 13 games. Every other Boston batter got a hit. ...
Martinez retired 12 straight batters before Sears singled in the
eighth. ... Nixon had two hits for the fifth straight game. ...
Koskie had two hits after going 1-for-13 against Martinez before