Boston (22-12) at Minnesota (18-15)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri May 9, 2003
  • TV: NESN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Pedro Martinez had already watched the Boston Red Sox bullpen blow two of his leads. So in his last start, he didn’t give the relievers the chance to do it again.

Martinez looks to build off his first complete game of the season as he faces the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a three-game series at the Metrodome.

On Saturday, Martinez gave up just five hits and struck out 12, beating the Twins 9-1 in his 39th career complete game.

“That is one of the best games I have ever seen the guy pitch,” Boston manager Grady Little said. “That ball was darting everywhere.”

Martinez, who is observing a self-imposed silence with the media, threw just 108 pitches, including 77 for strikes.

“It was just a beautiful day,” Boston center fielder Johnny Damon said. “The fans rallied behind him, and he showed them what Pedro is made of. It was nice for him to get over that 100-pitch limit to see just how far we could take him.”

Martinez, who entered the game with the lowest run-support among Red Sox starters, got seven runs in the sixth inning from his offense.

“He’s learning how to pitch at a different level … moving the ball, getting some ground balls,” catcher Jason Varitek said. “Pretty good when you have that many strikeouts and you get just barely 100 pitches.”

Excluding his start against Baltimore on April 12, when he gave up 10 earned runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings, Martinez has allowed just four earned runs in 45 innings (0.80 ERA).

Left-hander Johan Santana makes his first start of the season for Minnesota in place of Rick Reed, who aggravated a back injury last Saturday.

“Right now, we’ll just try to slip Santana right into that start, and we’ll pitch our way through it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “After a day off Monday, we’re fresher, and we have four guys out in the bullpen who haven’t thrown in two days.”

Santana, who has made 11 relief appearances this season, is 8-8 with a 5.00 ERA in 23 career starts.

The Twins come in off Thursday’s 5-0 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays— their fourth straight victory and eighth in nine games.

Boston, which had Thursday off, beat the Kansas City Royals 9-6 on Wednesday—their second straight victory and seventh in 10 games. Damon went 2-for-4 with a homer and 3 RBIs.

STANDINGS (through May 7): Red Sox - 2nd place, 2 1/2 GB, AL East. Twins - 2nd place, 3 1/2 GB, AL Central.

RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Martinez (3-1, 2.55 ERA). In nine career starts against Minnesota, Martinez is 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA.

TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Santana (1-0, 1.59 ERA). On Tuesday, Santana gave up one earned run and one hit in two innings of relief in Minnesota’s 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but he did not receive a decision. In six career appearances, including three starts, against the Red Sox, he is 1-3 with a 5.79 ERA.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Red Sox - Manny Ramirez, .333 avg.; Nomar Garciaparra, 6 HRs and 27 runs; Shea Hillenbrand, 27 RBIs; Damon, 8 SBs. Twins - Jacque Jones, .333 avg., 22 runs and 5 SBs; Bobby Kielty, 5 HRs; Torii Hunter, 22 RBIs.

SEASON SERIES: Twins, 2-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Red Sox - LHP Bruce Chen, claimed off waivers from the Houston Astros on Wednesday, will join the team for this series. … RF Trot Nixon, who missed four games with a scratched left cornea, pinch hit and played in the final two innings of Wednesday’s game. He will likely start Friday. … On Wednesday, OF Ramirez stole his first base since 2000. Twins - RF Dustan Mohr went 2-for-4 Thursday, extending his hitting streak to seven games. He has hit .500 with three doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and eight runs during the stretch. … 3B Corey Koskie has nine RBIs in his last nine games. … The Twins have 84 hits in their last seven games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Sox - 11-8 on the road; Twins - 6-7 at home.

INJURIES: Red Sox - RHP Chad Fox (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Robert Person (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Matt White (oblique), 15-day DL. Twins - IF Denny Hocking (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (knee), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

P. Martinez Phi vs. J. Santana Tor
14-4 Record 12-3
2.22 ERA 3.07
206 K 169
47 BB 47
1.04 WHIP 1.10