Pedro Martinez gets his 300th "K" and sets the Red Sox
single season strikeout record

ON THIS DATE (September 21, 1999) ... It didn't matter to him the size of the man, or the magnitude of his accomplishments. From the moment he decided to commit six years of his life to the Red Sox, Pedro Martinez refused to be cast in the shadow of Roger Clemens. His enormous Dominican pride, and his belief in his own singular skills, would not allow it.

And tonight, before a crowd of 27,799 at Fenway Park that was on its feet chanting "MVP" for the slender Red Sox ace, Martinez erased Clemens's name from another line in the Red Sox record book, and this one was no mere footnote to history. With 12 strikeouts in a 3-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, Martinez shattered Clemens's season record for strikeouts by a Red Sox pitcher while joining Randy Johnson as the only pitchers in big- league history to strike out 300 in both leagues.

Martinez broke Clemens's record of 291, set in 1988, by striking out shortstop Tony Batista for the first out of the third inning. Martinez used the same ball for the next hitter, Willis Otanez, and when Otanez fouled a pitch into the rooftop box seats, club publicist Kevin Shea retrieved the ball from a spectator after doing some quick negotiating.

Martinez struck out Homer Bush to start the eighth for his 299th strikeout, then walked the next batter, Shannon Stewart, and hit Brian McRae in the knee to put two runners on. Shawn Green then hit a one-hop shot to the right of second baseman Jose Offerman, who made a difficult stop and backhanded flip to Nomar Garciaparra for an inning-ending double play.

With Rod Beck warming up in the bullpen and the crowd calling for Martinez, the Sox ace emerged for the ninth inning and struck out Carlos Delgado, the cleanup hitter, on three pitches for No. 300. That ball Martinez rolled into the Red Sox dugout.

Martinez (22-4) lowered his major league-leading ERA to 2.11 with his 11th career shutout, and his 300 strikeouts are 116 more than the runner-up in the American League, Anaheim's Chuck Finley. At least as astonishing is this: Martinez, who walked two last night, has just 37 bases on balls in 204 1/3 innings. His strikeout- to-walk differential of 263 is believed to be the largest since Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax struck out 382 while walking 71 in 1965, a differential of 311.

Martinez now has 18 games this season in which he has struck out 10 or more. He's done it 53 times in his career, 26 times for the Sox. When the Jays made it through the sixth without a whiff, it was only the second time in 55 innings that Martinez had failed to register a strikeout. He threw 120 pitches, 81 for strikes.



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W-Pedro Martinez (22-4)
L-Pat Hentgen (10-12)
Attendance 27,799

 2B-Segui (Tor), Offerman (Bost)