Martinez looks to improve to 6-0 against his former club as a member of the Boston Red Sox, who’ve won eight of nine on the road as they continue their four-game series in Cleveland on Tuesday night.
The series opener Monday night was Martinez’s first game as a visitor at Progressive Field, the stadium he called home from his major league debut in 2002 until he was traded to Boston on Aug. 31.
“I left a place I will always have in my heart, a place where I grew up as a player,” Martinez said before the game. “But they traded me to a good place, a good team and I am really, really happy.”
Martinez received a warm ovation from the sparse crowd of 14,578, then went 2 for 4 with an RBI to help the Red Sox win 4-1. It was the fifth multi-hit performance in the last six games for the catcher, who is batting a major league-best .500 (25 for 50) since May 19.
In five games against the Indians - all victories - Martinez is 7 for 16 (.438) with six RBIs. The Red Sox have won 16 of 19 against Cleveland since falling behind 3-1 in the 2007 AL championship series.
“You look back at ’07 and that team that we had, and three years later, there is pretty much nobody left,” Martinez said.
The Red Sox (34-25) went on to win the 2007 World Series and have made the playoffs in each season since. They look like contenders again after winning 12 of 16, with their starting pitchers posting a 2.64 ERA in that stretch.
Tim Wakefield(notes), however, has not been as good as his teammates lately, going 0-2 with a 13.97 ERA in his last two starts. The 43-year-old gave up six runs in six innings - including four in the fourth - during a 9-8 loss to Oakland on Thursday.
“I felt great,” Wakefield said. “Unfortunately, I had a bad fourth inning and it cost us the game.”
Wakefield (1-4, 6.02 ERA) takes the ball after pitching brilliantly against the Indians last year, going 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts. Martinez’s single was the only hit he allowed in seven scoreless innings during Boston’s 3-1 win at Cleveland on April 27, 2009.
An Alex Rodriguez(notes) line drive struck Huff in the head at Yankee Stadium on May 29, and although the left-hander didn’t miss a start, he gave up five runs in three-plus innings of the Indians’ 12-6 loss at Detroit on Thursday.
“I felt fine out there,” Huff said. “What happened had nothing to do with what happened in New York. I just wasn’t locating my pitches.”
A lack of command could spell trouble against the Red Sox, who drew seven walks Monday and rank second to the Yankees with a .351 on-base percentage.