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A masterful performance for Martinez

©Associated Press
August 11, 2002

BOSTON -- Pedro Martinez said he wasn't at his best. Try telling that to the Twins.

Martinez extended his career-best scoreless streak to 31 innings, blanking Minnesota through the eighth and pitching the Red Sox to a 2-0 win Saturday.

On a day when he didn't feel quite up to par, Martinez mixed his pitches well and kept the Twins off-stride.

"When I was warming up, I noticed I wasn't as sharp and as strong as I had been," Martinez said. "I managed to keep them off-balance and sink the ball well today to get some ground balls."

Martinez (16-2), off to the best start of his career, gave up only four hits in winning his ninth straight decision. He has the longest shutout string in the majors since Atlanta's Greg Maddux went 391/3 innings in September 2000.

"He went out there today and he knew he didn't have his best fastball, and he probably did his best job of pitching that he has done all year," Red Sox manager Grady Little said.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner didn't walk a batter and struck out eight in improving his ERA to 2.14, second best in the majors behind teammate Derek Lowe's 2.09.

In his past eight starts, Martinez is 7-0 with a 0.47 ERA. He threw 77 of his 101 pitches for strikes. His streak is the longest by a Red Sox pitcher since Luis Tiant had 42 scoreless innings in 1972.

"This is one day when I had to work to earn it," said Martinez, who was hampered last season by shoulder tendinitis. "It gives me some satisfaction inside being able to do my job even when I wasn't as strong as other days."

The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second against Joe Mays (1-4). Cliff Floyd and Shane Hillenbrand doubled for the first run and Rey Sanchez hit a run-scoring single with two outs.

ATHLETICS 8, YANKEES 0: Cory Lidle shut out host New York for eight innings, and Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez homered.

Oakland won for the eighth time in 10 games, handing the listless Yankees their first shutout at home since Sept. 25 against Tampa Bay.

With Friday night's 3-2 loss in 16 innings, New York has dropped its first series since late June.

The Yankees won eight series and split four others since losing two of three games at Baltimore.

Lidle (5-9) gave up nine hits, struck out five and didn't walk a batter. Jeff Tam pitched the ninth as Oakland extended the Yankees scoreless streak to 17 innings.

MARINERS 7, WHITE SOX 3: Bret Boone hit his 20th home run of the season, breaking an eighth-inning tie for visiting Seattle.

Boone was in a 0-for-10 slide before homering with one out against reliever Rocky Biddle (1-3). He added a run-scoring grounder in a three-run ninth.

"I knew Biddle likes to throw off-speed pitches, but he's got a good fastball," Boone said. "I looked for a fastball that I could drive."

ANGELS 11, BLUE JAYS 4: Garret Anderson hit a three-run homer in a seven-run third for visiting Anaheim.

Brad Fullmer and Darin Erstad also homered for the Angels, who ended a three-game losing skid to remain ahead of Boston and Oakland in the wild-card race.

Staked to a 7-0 lead in the third, rookie starter John Lackey (4-2) allowed four runs and five hits, while striking out six and walking one in six innings.

Toronto rookie Orlando Hudson went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, improving his average to .368 (21-for-57). Hudson also robbed Alex Ochoa of a hit with a diving, over-the-shoulder catch in centerfield in the seventh.

The Angels, who had 18 hits, sent 11 men to the plate against Steve Parris (5-3) in the third, including Anderson, who hit the first pitch he saw for his 19th homer, giving Anaheim a 5-0 lead.

INDIANS 4, RANGERS 3: Karim Garcia showed in five minutes what teams have been expecting from him for years. Garcia, who has been with six major-league clubs, lined a winning single off the leftfield wall with one out in the ninth, lifting host Cleveland.

That came moments after the 26-year-old preserved a tie in the top of the ninth with a fine running catch on a two-out drive to rightfield by Alex Rodriguez with runners at the corners.

"I had a rush after making that catch and was really pumped," Garcia said. "I was trying to calm myself down and since I was the fourth hitter in the inning, I had a chance."

Ellis Burks opened the Indians ninth with a single and Jim Thome walked on four pitches from Danny Kolb (2-1).

ORIOLES 3, TIGERS 2: Tony Batista's run-scoring single in the eighth was the difference for visiting Baltimore, which rallied from two down.

Chris Singleton and Gary Mathews also had run-scoring singles in the three-run eighth as the Orioles won their eighth in 11 games.

Rodrigo Lopez (13-4) went seven innings and allowed two runs -- one earned -- and three hits to get the win. He struck out three and walked two.

Jorge Julio got one out for his 24th save in 29 chances.

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