The Boston ace will try keep up that domination when the Red Sox face the Indians in the middle game of their series at Fenway Park.
Martinez is 11-1 with a 1.72 in 15 starts against the Indians. He has pitched better against only the Seattle Mariners, going 12-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 12 games—11 starts.
Martinez beat the Indians last Thursday, settling in after a shaky start to toss seven strong innings and lead the Red Sox to a 5-2 victory. He gave up four hits—three in the first inning—and improved to 6-0 at Jacobs Field.
“I just think I got lucky,” Martinez said. “I think all my pitches were there. It was just a matter of getting in a groove.”
After giving up six runs and nine hits in four innings during a loss to Texas in his previous start, the three-time Cy Young Award winner quickly fell behind 2-0 in the first. But the Indians did little after that, putting only five runners on base with just one getting to third.
“He just looked like he said, ‘You’re going to have to hit it,’ and they didn’t,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “After the first three hitters, he was in control.”
Martinez will again be opposed by the Indians’ C.C. Sabathia, who allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings in the last meeting. The left-hander didn’t walk or strike out a batter, but disgustedly tossed his glove and cap in the dugout after being pulled.
“I’m the No. 1 starter, that’s what I am here for, to win these games and that’s what I gotta do,” said Sabathia, who was disappointed he let down fans who came to see him duel with Martinez. “I want to give everyone who came tonight my apology. This was a big game.”
Cleveland, which settled for a split in last week’s four-game series at home after winning the first two games, won this series’ opener 10-6 on Monday. Ben Broussard hit two of Cleveland’s eight doubles, and the Indians snapped a five-game losing streak.
Ronnie Belliard had two hits to raise his AL-leading batting average to .383, and scored a pair of runs for Cleveland.
Boston’s Byung-Hyun Kim allowed six runs—four earned—on five hits and three walks in 3 1-3 innings, and pitched his way out of the rotation. Francona said the team hadn’t decided whether the Korean right-hander, who has a 6.17 ERA, will go to the minors or the bullpen.
“Right now, it’s just not working starting,” Francona said. “I don’t think it’s fair to him or to us. So we’re going to make a change for now.”