PEDRO MARTINEZ

THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO, PART 11 ...
IT'S TIME TO "COWBOY UP"

The Red Sox beat up the Orioles

September 10, 2003 ... But for what should be a dwindling number of skeptics, some cold, hard facts: Faced with the challenge of arguably their toughest trip of the season, a makeup date in Philly against the wild-card contending Phillies, five games against division leaders, the White Sox and Yankees, and three games here against a team that has given the Sox fits this season, the Sons of Grady Little went 7-2 to move 25 games above .500 (85-60), matching their high-water mark for the season.

Sox starting pitchers delivered seven quality starts on the trip (minimum six innings, no more than three runs earned), with Martinez and Derek Lowe giving the club two apiece. In those seven games, the starters allowed two earned runs or fewer; the cumulative ERA of the starters on the trip was 2.62, barely a tick over Martinez's league- leading 2.36 ERA.

The offense, meanwhile, averaged 7.2 runs, batting .297 (99 for 333) with 16 home runs. They did not add any home runs to their franchise-record 216 yesterday afternoon, but three times hit three home runs in a game and four in Monday night's 13-10 loss to the Orioles.

They thrived despite the controversial absence of Manny Ramirez, who has merely hit in every game since he was restored to the lineup and now has a 15-game hitting streak; the struggles at the plate of Nomar Garciaparra, who drove in a run yesterday with a seventh- inning single but hit just .175 (7 for 40) on the trip; and the injury to right fielder Trot Nixon, whose strained calf muscle kept him out of yesterday's game and may sideline him indefinitely.

Abad struck out with the bases loaded in the first and Jason Varitek ended the inning by rolling out to second, after the Sox had scored three times against Johnson on a bases-loaded walk to Ortiz and a two-run single by Kevin Millar, who had been hitless in his first nine at-bats here and whiffed three more times subsequently, after a three-K game Tuesday.

Staked to a three-run lead for the third straight start, Martinez wasn't overpowering, topping out at 93 miles an hour on the stadium gun, on consecutive fastballs to Luis Matos, who whiffed in the sixth. But neither was he hittable, Geronimo Gil's line single to center in the third the Orioles' only hit until Larry Bigbie doubled to start the seventh. Gil also singled in the eighth, but the Orioles never advanced a runner as far as third base. Martinez is now 12-4 and has allowed one run or fewer in 13 of his last 18 starts. His nine K's gave him the league lead at 187, ahead of Mike Mussina of the Yankees.

Johnny Damon, who had three hits, singled with one out in the seventh, stole second, and scored on Garciaparra's base hit to make it 4-0, and the Sox added a final run in the ninth in similar fashion: a Damon single, stolen base, and RBI single by Ramirez.

The numbers don't lie. If the Red Sox win one more game than they lose over their final 17 games, 11 of which will be in Fenway Park, 14 against teams with losing records, the Seattle Mariners will have to go 11-6 just to tie the Sox for the wild-card spot.

 

at Camden Yards (Baltimore) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

3

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

 

5

11

0

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

0

3

0

W-Pedro Martinez (12-4)
L-Jason Johnson (10-7)
Attendance 25,143

2B-Ramirez (Bost), Bigbie (Balt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Johnny Damon cf 5 2 3 .277  

 

Todd Walker 2b 5 1 2 .278  

 

Damian Jackson 2b 0 0 0 .248  

 

Nmr Garciaparra ss 4 1 1 .313  

 

Manny Ramirez lf 4 1 2 .325  

 

David Ortiz dh 4 0 0 .290  

 

Kevin Millar 1b 4 0 1 .277  

 

Bill Mueller 3b 3 0 2 .333  

 

Andy Abaid rf 3 0 0 .000  

 

Gabe Kapler ph/rf 1 0 0 .256  

 

Jason Varitek c 3 0 0 .277  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Pedro Martinez 8 3 0 2 9  
  Alan Embree 1 0 0 0 2  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2003 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

New York Yankees 88 56 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 85 60 3 1/2

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 73 72 15 1/2

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 66 79 22 1/2

 

 

Tampa Bay Devil Rays 58 85 29 1/2

 

 

2003 WILD CARD STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 85 60 -

 

 

Seattle Mariners 83 62 2

 

 

Chicago White Sox 78 67 7