Boston (95-62) at Tampa Bay (66-89)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 82° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Wed Sep 29, 2004
  • TV: NESN, WPXM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Pedro Martinez will be glad to get away from the New York Yankees for a little while.

Martinez looks to rebound from a pair of demoralizing losses to his archrivals and his first three-start losing streak in six years as Boston concludes a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field.

Martinez allowed five runs and nine hits over 7 1-3 innings in Friday’s 6-4 defeat to the Yankees. He took a 4-3 lead into the eighth, but allowed two quick runs before being pulled—a scenario that eerily resembled Game 7 of last season’s AL championship series against New York when he blew a 5-2 lead in the eighth.

“It’s just frustrating for me not to do the job,” said Martinez, deflecting criticism from manager Terry Francona for not taking him out earlier, the same way he did for former skipper Grady Little last October.

“It was all me. I wanted to bury myself on that mound.”

Martinez was coming off an 11-1 loss to the Yankees on Sept. 19 in which he was pounded for a season-high eight runs and eight hits in five innings. The Red Sox clinched their second straight trip to the playoffs on Monday, and could potentially meet the Yankees again in the ALCS.

“What can I say—just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy,” Martinez said. “I can’t find a way to beat them at this point. … They’re that good. They’re that hot right now—at least against me. I wish they would disappear and not come back.”

Martinez’s losing streak began with a 5-2 loss to Scott Kazmir and the Devil Rays on Sept. 14, but the Dominican right-hander has owned Tampa Bay throughout his career. He is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against them this season— his best ERA against any AL team—and 11-3 with a 1.72 ERA in 19 career starts against the Devil Rays.

The Red Sox beat the Devil Rays 10-8 in 11 innings on Tuesday, moving within 2 1/2 games of the Yankees in the AL East. New York was rained out Tuesday and will play a doubleheader with AL Central champion Minnesota on Wednesday.

Kevin Millar hit the game-winning two-run homer for Boston, which matched its win total from last season and moved 33 games above .500 for the first time since Oct. 1, 1986—the last year they reached the World Series. The Red Sox own the best record in the majors since Aug. 1 (39-16).

Brook Fordyce homered for the Devil Rays, who have lost seven of their last 10. Tampa Bay, which has finished last in the AL East every year since entering the majors in 1998, leads last-place Toronto by one game. The Blue Jays’ game against Baltimore was rained out Tuesday.

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Starting Pitchers

P. Martinez Phi vs. D. Waechter KC
16-9 Record 5-7
3.90 ERA 6.01
227 K 36
61 BB 33
1.17 WHIP 1.44