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Martinez Presents Body of Evidence

April 08, 2002|From Associated Press

BALTIMORE — First, Pedro Martinez turned in a performance that proved his shoulder is not a cause for concern.

Then he hammered home the point.

"I hope that everyone chills now. I'm not 100% strong yet, but I'll get there," he declared.

Martinez won for the first time since last May 30, rebounding from an awful opening day outing to pitch six strong innings Sunday and lead the Boston Red Sox over the Baltimore Orioles, 4-1.

Martinez (1-0), coming off a season shortened to 18 starts because of shoulder pain, gave up one unearned run and three hits, struck out five and walked one. Shea Hillenbrand backed him with a pair of two-run homers.

So much for the idea that Martinez is dragging a sore shoulder to the mound.

"My health, thank God, I believe it's here," he said.

Although he was pitching against a team in a horrid hitting slump, it was a vast improvement from Martinez's first outing, when the right-hander gave up seven earned runs and nine hits in three innings against Toronto.

"The reports we were getting was that his fastball was not as explosive as it had been," Oriole Manager Mike Hargrove said. "Obviously, he had a real good fastball today."

The three-time Cy Young Award winner allowed only one runner past second base and retired his last seven batters. Martinez threw 85 pitches, 54 for strikes, in lowering his earned-run average from 21.00 to 7.00.

"I'm pretty pleased with how everything went. I made some adjustments today and felt like I was more consistent with everything," he said. "I felt better. Now I'll just continue to work on everything."

Martinez had been winless in his previous eight starts.

Carlos Baerga had two hits for the Red Sox, who outscored Baltimore, 11-3, in a three-game sweep. Ugueth Urbina pitched the ninth to earn his third save, all in this series.

Baltimore has lost five in a row, scoring only four runs during that span.

The Red Sox got all the runs they needed in the second inning. Two outs after Manny Ramirez drew a leadoff walk from Calvin Maduro (0-1), Hillenbrand hit a liner into the left-field seats for a 2-0 lead.

Hillenbrand struck again in the fourth with his second homer, after a double by Tony Clark.

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