Martinez beat Halladay and the Blue Jays 4-1 on April 10, allowing just one earned run and four hits in 7 2-3 innings in his second start of the season. Ten days later, he gave up just two runs, one earned, and five hits in seven innings of a 4-2 win over Halladay.
Halladay was strong in both games, giving up just three earned runs in each of the losses. However, he hasn’t been good enough to beat the three-time Cy Young award winner yet this year.
“They’re a good-hitting team. And when Pedro’s on, he’s tough to hit,” Halladay said on April 20. “It’s one of those games where you really try to battle through it and keep your team close. It’s tough to beat Pedro when he’s pitching that good.”
Martinez gave up six earned runs in an 8-5 loss to Texas on May 1, but has been strong in his two starts since, giving up just four earned runs and nine hits over 14 innings. He allowed two earned runs and five hits and struck out 11 in Boston’s 5-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, but did not receive a decision.
“I think all my pitches were there,” said Martinez, who threw a season-high 115 pitches. “It was just a matter of getting in a groove.”
Martinez moved into a tie with Lefty Grove for eighth place on Boston’s career wins list with 105. He struck out at least 10 batters for the 94th time in his career and 67th with the Red Sox—one shy of Roger Clemens’ team record.
He also became the second Red Sox pitcher, along with Clemens, to record his 1,500th strikeout with Boston.
Halladay is coming off Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals in which he allowed five earned runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.
“I felt good the whole game, but the last two innings I made a lot of poor pitches,” Halladay said.
The right-hander, who lost three of his first four decisions, is 2-1 with a 4.23 ERA in his last four starts.
“He was really grinding tonight,” manager Carlos Tosca said Tuesday. “He probably knew it was one of those nights where a run here or there could mean the game.”
The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 4-0 on Saturday for their second straight victory since losing four of five. Kevin Youkilis homered for his first major league hit, and Mark Bellhorn and David Ortiz also went deep for Boston.
Eric Hinske went 2-for-3 for Toronto, which has lost four of five.
STANDINGS (through May 14): Red Sox - 2nd place, 1/2 GB, AL East. Blue Jays - 4th place, 6 1/2 GB, AL East.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Martinez (4-2, 3.73 ERA). Martinez is 9-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 16 career starts against the Blue Jays.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Halladay (3-4, 3.99 ERA). Halladay is 4-6 with a 4.65 ERA in 18 career appearances, including 15 starts, against the Red Sox.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Red Sox - Manny Ramirez, .355 avg.; Ortiz, 10 HRs and 29 RBIs; Bellhorn, 23 runs; Johnny Damon, 5 SBs. Blue Jays - Frank Catalanotto, .344 avg.; Orlando Hudson and Carlos Delgado, 5 HRs; Hudson, 21 RBIs, 26 runs and 3 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Red Sox, 6-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Red Sox - INF Youkilis, recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket before the game, went 2-for-4 in his major league debut. He is the seventh player in club history to homer in his first major league game, and the first to homer for his first hit since Creighton Gubanich hit a grand slam on May 3, 1999. … Youkilis was recalled to help fill in for 3B Bill Mueller, who missed his third straight game Saturday with a sore right knee. Manager Terry Francona wants to give him a few days off. … OF Gabe Kapler, who is hitting just .235 this season, shaved his head. He would not talk about it much, but admitted that it was mainly a matter of superstition. Blue Jays - OF Catalanotto went 0-for-4 Saturday, snapping an eight-game hitting streak. … CF Vernon Wells extended his hitting streak to eight games Saturday. … 1B Delgado is 9-for-40 with three doubles, a triple, a homer and 14 strikeouts career against RHP Martinez.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Sox - 11-9 on the road; Blue Jays - 7-11 at home.
INJURIES: Red Sox - SS Nomar Garciaparra (Achilles’), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (knee), 15-day DL; OF Trot Nixon (leg, back), 15-day DL; RHP Ramiro Mendoza (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Shiell (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Brad Thomas (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Reynaldo Garcia (elbow), 60-day DL; 3B Mueller (knee), day-to-day. Blue Jays - C Greg Myers (ankle), 15-day DL; INF Chris Woodward (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Justin Speier (elbow), 15-day DL.