He’ll look to turn in another strong start as the Mets continue their three-game series with the San Diego Padres Wednesday at Shea Stadium in a matchup of division leaders.
Martinez (8-4, 3.48 ERA) allowed one run and four hits in six innings of the Mets’ 4-1 loss to Dontrelle Willis and the Florida Marlins on Thursday, but did not receive a decision. The start was his second since spending three weeks on the disabled list with right hip inflammation.
“I felt pretty good,” Martinez said. “I’m just trying to get back on track and give myself some stamina.”
Martinez, who threw 100 pitches, gave up four runs in the first inning in his first start back on July 28 in Atlanta, but held the Braves scoreless for the next five innings to earn a 6-4 win.
He struck out nine batters on Thursday, and is just 17 shy of 3,000 for his career.
“He threw the ball great, so it was nice to see him get back in the rhythm,” manager Willie Randolph said. “That’s a good sign, very positive sign, to see him throw the ball like that.”
Martinez is 9-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 22 career appearances, including 15 starts, against the Padres. He gave up one run in seven innings and struck out a season-high 11 in an 8-1 victory at San Diego on April 22.
The NL East-leading Mets (67-44) won 3-2 in Tuesday’s series opener. David Wright went 3-for-4 and hit a pair of run-scoring singles for New York, which has won three straight and eight of 11. Carlos Beltran had three doubles, tying a Mets record.
Mike Piazza went 1-for-4 in his first game back in New York since signing with the Padres in the offseason. The 37-year-old catcher received loud cheers from the Shea Stadium crowd from the moment he stepped onto the field for pregame warmups.
“It was just one of those amazing moments that I can’t explain in sports,” said Piazza, who received a pregame tribute on the Shea video board. “You just don’t see that a lot. For them to give me that privilege and honor is something I can’t explain. The people were amazing.”
Mike Cameron, another former Met, also made his first trip back to New York and went 1-for-3 with a double for the Padres (58-54), who lost for the fifth time in eight games. Geoff Blum hit a two-run homer for San Diego, which leads the NL West by one-half game over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Shortstop Khalil Greene did not start for the fourth straight game Tuesday because of a sprained middle finger on his left hand.
Clay Hensley (7-8, 4.33) will start Wednesday for the Padres. He allowed one run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings of Thursday’s 5-2 win over Houston.
Hensley has not allowed more than two runs in any of his last four starts, going 2-1 over that span.
“The biggest thing we stressed when I was having problems earlier on in the season was how to achieve game management. It was something I needed to learn,” he said. “Earlier on in the season, it was something I wasn’t doing too well.”
Hensley is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in three career appearances, including one start, against the Mets. The start came on April 23, when he allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-4 victory.