The right-hander looks to keep up his mastery of the Mariners as the Boston Red Sox continue their three-game series against Seattle at Safeco Field.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 10-0 with a 0.94 ERA, two complete games and one shutout in 10 career appearances against the Mariners, including a 5-0 record and 0.68 ERA at Safeco Field.
Yet, those performances don’t intimidate Seattle’s first-year manager.
“I wasn’t here before,” Bob Melvin said. “Maybe it’s time for things to change.”
Martinez suffered his first loss in more than three months Monday in a 4-0 setback to the Oakland Athletics, in which he allowed two runs and five hits over five innings.
He hadn’t lost since May 9—a span of 12 starts in which he yielded one earned run or fewer in all but three of those outings. However, he threw a combined 367 pitches over his last three starts, prompting Boston manager Grady Little to remove him after 101 pitches.
The feisty Martinez appeared visibly upset with Little’s decision in the dugout and later refused to speak to reporters after the game.
Little, however, stood by his decision to protect his ace.
“I thought he had pretty good stuff out there,” he said. “They had the bases loaded there in the fifth and he was able to pitch his way out of that. It was just another case where we didn’t score any runs the day he pitched
Boston fell four games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees with Friday’s 10-5 loss to the Mariners. However, the Red Sox, who have lost six of eight, remained 1 1/2 games ahead of the A’s for the AL wild card.
The AL West-leading Mariners have won five of seven, as Ichiro Suzuki hit his second grand slam of the season and Mark McLemore had four hits for Seattle on Friday. The Mariners increased their lead over the second-place A’s to five games.
Bret Boone added a solo home run, his 30th, to become the eighth Mariner to reach that mark. He also hit 37 in 2001.
STANDINGS: Red Sox - 2nd place, 4 GB, AL East. Mariners - 1st place, AL West.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Martinez (8-3, 2.37 ERA). Opponents are hitting .217 and have an on-base percentage of .276 against Martinez, who have struck out 155 and walked just 36 over 136 2-3 innings this season.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Joel Pineiro (13-7, 3.48 ERA). Pineiro has lost two straight since enjoying a career-high eight-game winning streak. The 24-year-old right-hander has surrendered a combined 11 runs over just 8 2-3 innings during the two-game skid, including Monday’s 5-3 loss to Toronto. He allowed five runs—four earned—and six hits over six innings against the Blue Jays, striking out three and walking two. Pineiro is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Red Sox - Bill Mueller, .325 avg.; Manny Ramirez, 29 HRs and 86 RBIs; Nomar Garciaparra, 94 runs; Johnny Damon, 22 SBs. Mariners - Suzuki, .342 avg., 91 runs and 28 SBs; Boone, 30 HRs and 96 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Red Sox - Boston is 16-10 against teams currently leading their divisions. … SS Garciaparra is hitting .339 (40-for-118) with nine homers, nine doubles, 23 RBIs and 21 runs scored over his last 29 games. … CF Johnny Damon complained of tightness in his right hamstring Friday and left as a precaution in the third inning. His status for Saturday’s game is uncertain. Mariners - OF Mike Cameron is hitting just .217 in 23 career at-bats against RBP Martinez but had two homers and four RBIs. … RHP Shigetoshi Hasegawa, who has held opponents scoreless in 46 of his 49 appearances this season, converted his 12th save in as many opportunities Friday. … DH Edgar Martinez is riding a 10-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .424 (14-for-33) with seven RBIs.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Sox - 31-33 on the road; Mariners - 38-26 at home.
INJURIES: Red Sox - CF Damon (hamstring), day-to-day; INF Jeremy Giambi (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brandon Lyon (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Ramiro Mendoza (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Robert Person (hip), 15-day DL. Mariners - 3B Jeff Cirillo (shoulder), 15-day DL; INF Greg Colbrunn (wrist), 15-day DL; SS Carlos Guillen (pelvis), 15-day DL.