Rangers 4, Red Sox 3, 1st game; Rangers 8, Red Sox 5, 2nd game
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Pedro Martinez plans to test the free-agent market after this season. The three-time Cy Young winner won’t be very attractive to anybody pitching the way he did Saturday night.
Martinez had his shortest outing of the season for Boston, giving up six runs in four innings, and the Texas Rangers won 8-5 to complete a sweep in the doubleheader matching division leaders.
“It was just a game where I made mistakes and they made me pay,” said Martinez, who spoke only about the game. “I had a little struggle with the breaking ball. The whole game just didn’t work out today.”
In the first game, Texas broke a streak of 32 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings by Boston’s bullpen with a three-run seventh to win 4-3.
The Rangers, the best-hitting team in the majors and the AL West leader, batted around in a four-run third. They added another run in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead before Martinez (3-2) was replaced by Leonard DiNardo to start the next inning.
“He misfired with his fastball in a lot of instances,” manager Terry Francona said. “It just never allowed him to get in any kind of rhythm. Pretty obvious, it was a battle for him right form the get-go. He wasn’t hitting his target.”
Francona said Martinez just had an off night, and that it was not related to the pitcher’s decision to have no more talks during the season with the Red Sox about a new contract.
“You send him out there, you expect almost greatness,” he said. “You have to be human sometimes. Again, he didn’t locate and paid the price.”
The Red Sox scored three runs in the ninth off Carlos Almanzar and Jay Powell before closer Francisco Cordero relieved with runners on second and third and one out. Cordero induced Bill Mueller to fly out to short-center and struck out David Ortiz for his second save of the day and ninth of the season.
Despite the sweep, Boston still leads the AL East, by 2 1/2 games over Baltimore.
Martinez told several Boston-area newspapers Friday night that he won’t talk about a new contract with Boston during the season and will become a free agent. The right-hander’s agent, Fernando Cuza, wouldn’t comment when reached Saturday by The Associated Press, and Martinez said through team officials that he wouldn’t discuss it further.
General manager Theo Epstein said the primary focus remains trying to build a team that can compete for and win a World Series. He said such disagreements were unfortunate but inevitable, and would be resolved in time, though he never specifically mentioned Martinez in a statement.
In 11 previous starts against Texas, Martinez was 8-1 with a 1.45 ERA. And the Red Sox gave him a quick 1-0 lead with Johnny Damon’s leadoff triple and Mueller’s sacrifice fly.
Texas got even in the bottom of the first on Hank Blalock’s fifth homer. After going 1-2-3 in the second, with help from David Dellucci getting thrown out trying to stretch a double, Martinez struggled through the third.
After three straight singles to start the third, including Michael Young’s tiebreaking hit, Alfonso Soriano had a two-run double. Soriano scored on Brian Jordan’s first hit in Texas, an infield single.
“If you go in with an elaborate game plan against him, that will take you out the game before it even starts,” Blalock said.
Barajas and Young had consecutive one-out doubles in the fourth, the last of a season-high nine hits allowed by Martinez, who struck out three.
The previous shortest outing for Martinez was April 15 against Baltimore, when he gave up seven runs in five innings.
In the first game, Blalock’s sacrifice fly in the seventh sent home the go-ahead run, after a pair of hit-and-run plays produced the tying run and the Rangers snapped Boston’s six-game winning streak.
Boston’s bullpen hadn’t given up a run in 11 games, since April 17 against the Yankees.
Mark Malaska (1-1) gave up a single to Dellucci, the only batter he faced and the runner Blalock drove home to make it 3-2. Soriano then had an RBI double.
Erasmo Ramirez (1-1) had a perfect seventh against Boston’s 1-2-3 hitters.Cordero pitched the ninth for the save. ^Notes: The scoreless streak by Boston’s bullpen was the longest in the majors since St. Louis’ 34 in a row in 2002. … The Red Sox played their second doubleheader in three days. They won both games in a day-night twinbill Thursday at Fenway Park. … Manny Ramirez struck out in his only four plate appearances in Game 1, his first four-strikeout game since July 23, 2002against Tampa Bay. He was 1-for-4 with another strikeout in Game 2.