Martinez gets upper hand in O's 12-5 loss

Red Sox ace ends woes against O's as Boston belts Bedard early to prevail

Six-run third inning is pivotal

Home misery deepens despite Tejada's 20th HR

July 27, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

As rain continued to fall and a game dragged on last night, the outcome long ago decided, the Boston Red Sox sent out their trainer to check on Pedro Martinez. The visit was brief, and the three-time Cy Young Award winner continued to pitch.

Only the Orioles were hurting, and they had the marks to prove it.

The Red Sox supported Martinez with two big innings, giving him a significant lead to play with, and the Orioles couldn't maintain their hold over him in a 12-5 loss before 42,113 at Camden Yards.

Miguel Tejada hit his 20th home run, a two-run shot off Martinez in the sixth, after being named the league's co-Player of the Week earlier in the day. All he did was reduce the Red Sox's margin to 10-2.

In a season decorated with large pockets of frustration, here's one that leaves the Orioles baffled: They're now 21-29 at home, the fewest wins in the American League.

"I can't explain it," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "I wish I could put a finger on it. We play well on the road [23-25] and it should be the opposite."

Martinez was 0-2 with an 8.66 ERA in three starts against the Orioles this season, but he limited them to three hits, singles by Jerry Hairston and Melvin Mora, and a double by Javy Lopez, through the fifth. He was charged with five runs in 6 1/3 , two of them scoring after he left.

With such a big lead, "you just go right after them, throwing strikes and trying to make things happen," said Martinez, who felt a pinch in his right hip in the seventh. "I wanted to keep getting the outs ... but it didn't work out and they didn't want to take a chance."

By the time Hairston reached in the third - he left four innings later with a tight hamstring - the Red Sox already had a 6-0 lead after sending 10 batters to the plate in the top half against left-hander Erik Bedard. They paraded nine more in the sixth against Eddy Rodriguez and Todd Williams.

Williams was just glad to make it out alive. A line drive by Gabe Kapler in the eighth struck him in the back of the neck, sending the ball toward Mora, who made the throw to first. Williams watched the play before rolling over, and he walked off the field.

"It scares you to death," Mazzilli said.

After defeating Boston in his last start, Bedard (4-5) was removed with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. The Red Sox did all their scoring against him in one inning, but the damage was irreparable.

"I was throwing good pitches, they were hitting them," Bedard said. "Then I was throwing pitches out over the plate and they were hitting them."

Red Sox fans made their usual trek to Baltimore yesterday, storming the gates that opened at 5 p.m. for season-ticket holders and filling the lower section and outfield seats for batting practice.

David Ortiz gave them a show, slamming one against the video board in center field.

Just when he thought it was safe to bat without being jeered, Karim Garcia got an earful in the second inning. It was Fenway Park all over again - another reminder of Garcia's involvement in last year's bullpen brawl during the American League Championship Series.

The color red washed over Camden Yards, and the noise level rose when Ortiz walked with two outs in the first inning and Manny Ramirez ran the count full. But Bedard froze him with a 93-mph fastball.

Given another chance in the third inning, Ramirez lined a two-out single to center field that scored Johnny Damon for a 2-0 lead. Nomar Garciaparra followed with a run-scoring single, and Ramirez came home on a double by Kevin Millar.

As Rodriguez warmed up, Jason Varitek delivered two more runs with a single. It took a leaping catch by Mora on Bill Mueller's liner to end the abuse.

"You give [Martinez] a six-run jump start," Mazzilli said, "and you have your work cut out for you."

The rally started when Garcia got a late jump on Kapler's shallow fly ball, which fell for a one-out single.

In the sixth, Garcia and Larry Bigbie bumped into each other in left-center field, allowing Kapler to reach with a leadoff double. He scored when Mark Bellhorn's fly ball to right cleared Hairston's head.

Two batters later, Hairston failed to catch a liner from Ramirez, the ball whizzing past his glove as he jumped for it. The play was scored a double, and Rodriguez eventually was charged with four runs.

Martinez's 10-4 record heading in the game seemed pretty typical, but there was something wrong with the 4.01 ERA. It hasn't been higher than 2.89 to close a season since 1998. Martinez had a career 2.58 ERA in 2,079 innings before 2004.

Was he slipping?

"I wouldn't say that. Not at all," Mazzilli said. "He's still one of the best around."

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Boston Red Sox

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 7:05

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Red Sox's Tim Wakefield (6-6, 4.17) vs. Orioles' Rodrigo Lopez (8-6, 3.61)

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